Lucky William sees off big guns in Ryanair
Report: Punchestown, Friday
Ryanair Novice Chase (Grade 1) 2m 5yo+
LUCKY WILLIAM upset the big guns to land a first Grade 1 success. Forpadydeplasterer's trainer Tom Cooper looks to have another nice chaser on his hands as his eight-year-old saw off Blackstairmountain by a length and a half in the hands of Barry Geraghty.
First Lieutenant ran on for third from the fading Menorah.
The 4-1 winner was turning the tables with the second from their running in the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown in December. That day Lucky William was back in fourth, six and three-quarter lengths behind Blackstairmountain, on what was much better ground. But he has always handled an easier surface and looked much more at home in the slop as he took it up turning in and stayed on stronger than Willie Mullins' charge, who had to give best on the run-in.
The first two were giving a big boost to Flemenstar, who beat them both back at Leopardstown in January in similar conditions. He looks a future superstar and the first and second will need to improve a huge amount next season if they are to lay a glove on the likes of he and Sprinter Sacre.
The two stars of the race, First Lieutenant and Menorah, both ran well enough in third and fourth, perhaps feeling the effects of what has been a long hard season for the pair.
Menorah travelled well for a long way but couldn't go with Lucky William from the turn in. Richard Johnson reported afterwards that the ground was too soft for him.
First Lieutenant kept on tenaciously having looked beaten a long way from home. The drop back to 2m clearly didn't work, while the ground would have been far from ideal, and he remains a Gold Cup contender for next season.