Fabulous Footpad slams opposition from the front
Footpad was again foot perfect as he has been all season when he trounced his rivals by 12 lengths in the Ryanair Novice Chase, his fourth Grade 1 success over fences.
The 2-5 favourite, reunited with Daryl Jacob who rode the six-year-old to the first of his five wins over fences at Navan in November, Footpad made all, delivering a performance trainer Willie Mullins thought was even better than his display in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham last month.
Mullins said: "That was some performance, better than Cheltenham I think. He was spring-heeled and jumped much bigger than he did in the Arkle. Daryl said that once he settled it was push button stuff."
Joint-owners Simon Munir, on his first visit to Ireland, and Isaac Souede, who retain Jacob, were present to lead in their exciting chaser.
Mullins added: "We gave Footpad a little break when he wasn't quite right and had to miss Aintree, so to deliver the performance he has just given was pretty special.
"I'd have no problem going out in trip with him next season but we'll wait and see. I'll talk it over with his owners and see what they want to do."
This win followed Footpad's previous Grade 1 victories in the Racing Post Novice Chase and the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Chase, both at Leopardstown, as well as the Arkle at Cheltenham.
Nothing looked like they were going to beat him at any stage of the race and in the end they never got near him.
British raider Optimus Prime stayed on from the back to finish second for Dan Skelton and Noel Fehily, with the mare and Footpad's stablemate Ashturia five lengths further back in third. Main rival Petit Mouchoir again ran a bit flat, finishing fourth.
Jacob said: "He was very good. That’s four Grade 1s now. He was very fresh early on but after that settled into a lovely rhythm. Four out he produced a monstrous jump. He’s turning into the real article."
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