Two from two for Triumph favourite Landofhopeandglory
On a weekend jam-packed full of Cheltenham clues, Landofhopeandglory opened the batting and knocked his rivals for six in the opening three-year-old hurdle to cement his position at the top of the JCB Triumph Hurdle market.
The smooth success prompted Paddy Power to trim him into 10-1 favourite (from 12) for the festival contest and we could get to see him again in two weeks' time as trainer Joseph O'Brien has not ruled out a crack at the Grade 3 Bar One Racing Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse on December 4.
A delighted O'Brien said: "He got better with his jumping as the race went on. Mark [Walsh] said he landed up in front turning in, which wasn't ideal, but he won as he liked really. He might go to Fairyhouse for the Grade 3 early next month. It is certainly an option but we'll see how he comes out of this first. JP [McManus] was of the opinion the experience today would crown him."
Bolger bats rivals away
They were coming at him from all angles. Foxrock, rated 154, and Goonyella (147) were newcomers to the cross-country scene but it was the master who taught the new pupils a lesson as Enda Bolger produced Cantlow to win the Risk Of Thunder Chase in style, completing a double for Mark Walsh.
Neither Foxrock nor Gonnyella could lay a glove on Cantlow, who took it up before the second-last and fought off the brave Ballyboker Bridge to earn himself a quote of 12-1 with BoyleSports for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase next March.
"He was really on fire today and will probably go to Cheltenham next month," said Bolger. "That was one of the better cross-country races we've had for a while. I left Josies Orders at home as I didn't want to run him on that ground. He'll run over hurdles at Navan next week and then on to Cheltenham next month."
Dance moves look good
It takes two to tango and Let's Dance and Shattered Love served up a bruising battle in the Listed Grabel Mares Hurdle with Willie Mullins getting one over on Gordon Elliott in the trainers' title race.
Shattered Love looked to have stolen it on the home turn and traded at 1.15 on the exchanges, but she could not repel last year's Triumph Hurdle fourth, who showed a smart turn of foot to score.
Mullins said: "The conditions of the race suited her and she didn't do any more than we were hoping for. Ruby [Walsh] felt the ground was a bit softer than described. I thought she was in trouble after the second-last but she got galloping in the straight. She has a bit of class and it kicked in."
Let's Dance was the first leg of a double for Mullins and Walsh as they took the traditionally hot 2m4f beginners' chase with 6-1 shot Haymount, who proved too good for the 145-rated hurdler Coney Island.
However, the much-touted Senewalk could not live up to the hype in the 2m4f maiden hurdle, which went to Moulin A Vent from the Noel Meade stable.
Thought for the day
How many winners will come out of the 2m4f beginners' chase? Certainly Coney Island and Mall Dini look like they could develop into top-notch novice chasers this season.