Gigginstown dominate again as Alpha Des Obeaux reigns supreme
Gigginstown House Stud had four of the six horses in the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase and three of them duly filled the first three places as Alpha Des Obeaux ran out a ready winner for Sean Flanagan and Mouse Morris, with A Toi Phil in second and 11-10 favourite Balko Des Flos jumping poorly and finding little in third.
Tiger Roll and Champagne West traded blows in the lead throughout, with A Toi Phil, Balko Des Flos and Alpha Des Obeaux settled in behind and former Grade 1 winner Realt Mor trailing the field.
Favourite backers were never at ease as Galway Plate winner Balko Des Flos, who crashed out in the JLT Novices’ Chase last year, failed to jump with any fluency for Davy Russell.
Tiger Roll emptied rapidly and Champagne West fell away, leaving Alpha Des Obeaux and A Toi Phil – who found plenty for pressure – to fight out the finish. A good jump at the last sealed victory for the seven-year-old, who strode away to win by five and a half lengths at 7-1.
Flanagan, who has already enjoyed success with Road To Respect in the same silks this season, said: "If you went back to his Munster National run I definitely gave him a chance. I got into a lovely rhythm and when he got to the front I just let him roll away and he did it well.
"Mouse said he was sick last year and he's a different horse this year. He might be a shade below Grade 1 but he's a good Grade 2 horse."
Morris added: "He had run two good races this year and my horses, the ones that are capable enough, are all running well this year.
"I'd say he could go back to handicaps now but I'll see what the O'Learys want to do. The year before last he was always just falling a bit short. That's only Sean's second ride ever for me, he fell off the other one!"
Classy recruits Sizing Europe (2012) and Champagne Fever (2014) used this race as a stepping stone to better things in the past and Paddy Power introduced the winner to the Ryanair Chase market at 25-1.
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