Reports04 March 2024

'If you're not in you can't win' - Horantzau D'Airy takes advantage of last-fence fallers to land Leopardstown feature

Horantzau D'Airy (Paul Townend) takes advantage of last-fence fallers to win the beginners' chase
Horantzau D'Airy (Paul Townend) takes advantage of last-fence fallers to win the beginners' chaseCredit: Patrick McCann (racingpost.cpm/photos)

The weather gods bit back with a vengeance for Leopardstown's final jumps meeting on Monday, with an afternoon of heavy rain turning the ground sloppy and probably adding to a couple of exciting finishes, not least to the feature beginners' chase.

There was drama at the final fence where both odds-on favourite Aspire Tower, who still had a marginal advantage, and his main challenger Thecompanysergeant fell independently, leaving chasing debutant Horantzau D'Airy with what appeared an unassailable lead. He in turn did his best to make it interesting as he pulled up in front and allowed stablemate Paul Marvel to close the deficit to a length and a quarter at the line.

Willie Mullins was unable to make up his mind whether the winner was lucky or not. He said: "If you're not in you can't win. I'm delighted with him and he'll continue chasing until the summer. Paul Marvel will be best while the ground stays right."

The champion trainer completed a double when the impeccably bred Magic McColgan, a sister to King George winner Tornado Flyer, came from an unpromising position in the gathering gloom to land the mares' bumper under Patrick Mullins for owner Kenny Alexander.

"That was a very nice performance," said Mullins, adding: "It was a nice step forward from her run at Christmas and I imagine she'll go on to Punchestown now for the Listed mares' bumper, unless there's one in the meantime, but I think that is the plan."

Hassett delighted with Lane

The final fence was taken out due to ground conditions after the beginners' chase, which did not particularly please trainer Martin Hassett, but Soloman Lane overcame that supposed disadvantage in the qualified riders handicap chase, drawing clear on the long run-in to score under David Doyle.

Hassett said: "He needs everything to go right for him, but I said to David going out that if he jumped the first three fences he'd win. He didn't jump at all the last day, it was a total disaster but he's normally dynamite. I couldn't understand why they took out the last, and when I saw them coming past the stands I thought, 'Here we go again', but he battled away.

"I'd say he's as good at jumping as any horse we've ever had and he doesn't have many miles on the clock. He'll stay on the go."

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