Fat Cat gets the cream at Maiden Hurdle
FATCATINTHEHAT made amends for a last-fence fall on his previous start with a cosy all-the-way win in the Leopardstown.com Maiden Hurdle.
Paul Townend dictated affairs on the Willie Mullins-trained 8-15 shot and was not hard pressed to open his account over jumps.
Fatcatinthehat easily shrugged aside Welsh Nayber to score by eight lengths from Ibsen, who snatched second spot by a short head, and book his ticket to the Cheltenham Festival.
Mullins said: "I'm very pleased. It looked a fast race and there was no let up in the pace.
"He jumped fantastic and I couldn't ask for any better.
"He'll probably go for the Fred Winter and we'll see what sort of mark he gets.
"He'll get an entry in the Triumph, the Fred Winter and maybe the Supreme Novices' as well.
"I'd say that took a lot out of him and I doubt if he'll have another run before Cheltenham."
Texas Jack sprang something of a surprise under a canny ride from Paul Carberry to win the Boylesports.com - Bet On Your Mobile Novice Chase.
Carberry crept Noel Meade's seven-year-old into the race from the second-last and led after jumping the final fence.
However, Texas Jack (6-1) was all out to hold Lord Windermere by half a length in a bunch finish for this Grade Two over two miles and five furlongs.
Meade said: "He jumped brilliant and he got a brilliant ride, as per usual.
"I thought in the last 100 yards that they were going to come back and do him, but Paul obviously conjured up another little bit out of him.
"He's a good horse, he ran a good race here at Christmas and Paul felt going back to two-mile-five-furlongs might suit him best and that proved spot on.
"He handles the ground well. We've been racing in ground like this all winter so we're used to it.
"He might come back here for the Dr P.J Moriarty in two weeks' time, I don't know.
"I don't think we'll go to Cheltenham with him but if we did, maybe we'll go for the novice handicap.
"I think he'll stay at home and maybe the Powers Gold Cup is a race you could think about as well."
Carberry said: "He's a very exciting horse, he jumped very well.
"I decided to drop him in because the last day here he jumped very well down the back but when he got to the front, he ended up stopping on me so I said I'd come late today.
"He did it very well, I even got there a bit soon but when he heard the other horses coming back at him he put his head down again.
"I let the others do the hard work and then I came to take it off them."
Farrells Fancy (9-1) was all out to land the spoils in the Leopardstown Handicap Chase.
Terence O'Brien's charge was always prominent and led before the second-last, although Sweet My Lord looked like putting in a strong challenge when he fell at the final fence.
Farrells Fancy was treading water in the final strides but 5lb Mark Enright held him together to hold the late bid of Sweeney Tunes by a head with Klepht third and Carlingford Lough fourth.
O'Brien said: "In fairness to the horse, we always thought there was a big prize in him.
"We very nearly didn't run today because I just thought he doesn't really like heavy ground.
"It was touch and go whether we'd run or not, it was only on the toss of a coin really that we ran. He had bits of problems as he got a stress fracture but he gives everything."
Enright said: "He was keen all the way, he was running away from me for most of the race and I just had to keep bringing him back.
"Going to the second-last, I let him roll and he winged it and got a good jump at the last.
"I had to give it hell for leather from the last as he just idled on the way to the line."