Sambremont makes most of good fortune
Sambremont scored a surprise victory in a dramatic renewal of the Flyingbolt Chase at Navan.
Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh, Sambremont appeared to be out of the reckoning at the top of the straight with fellow Mullins runner Tell Us More and 8/11 favourite Ttebbob well clear.
Tell Us More looked booked for victory as Bryan Cooper kicked on with three to jump, with Ttebbob seemingly under pressure, but he crashed out at the penultimate fence, leaving Ttebbob in front and appearing a likely winner.
However, Walsh galvanised his mount on the run to the last and, as Ttebbob floundered in the finish on testing ground, Sambremont poked his head in front on the line.
Walsh said: "You have to be a bit lucky sometimes. It looked like Tell Us More was going to win and when Bryan fell, my fella had half a chance.
"But he's nothing but tough, although it was slow-motion stuff. I landed running over the last while Ttebbob missed it a bit and that gave me the momentum.
"I think on good ground he would have been a long way behind, and when I saw him entered for this race I thought how can he run in that and now he's won over €25,000." Ladbrokes go 10/1 from 14s about Sambremont in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham, while Paddy Power and Boylesports go 12s.
There was a dramatic conclusion to the Ten Up Novice Chase as Black Hercules crashed out at the final fence, leaving Measureofmydreams to triumph.
Black Hercules was sent off the 4/11 favourite for Walsh and Mullins after winning each of his two chase starts to date, beating Sambremont on the first occasion at this track in December.
Walsh maintained a prominent position throughout the three-mile heat and, as the likes of Sub Lieutenant and Pleasant Company began to race in earnest, Black Hercules appeared to be travelling best of all.
However, he crashed through the last fence, leaving stablemate Measureofmydreams in the driving seat. Paul Townend only had to keep his mount going on the run to the line to win by five lengths from Noble Endeavour with Pleasant Company back in third.
Mullins, who also trains the third, said: "We'll see what the owners (Gigginstown) want to do and he'd prefer better ground. Pleasant Colony ran a nice race and the four-miler (National Hunt Chase) will be his race if he goes to Cheltenham. Black Hercules was running a great race until what happened happened. He seems to be OK."
Snow Falcon (11/4) emerged best of the three runners in the Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle. With Val De Ferbet and Prince Of Scars both taken out, Noel Meade's charge and the Gigginstown-owned pair of Dedigout and Lieutenant Colonel went to post in the Grade Two heat. Dedigout was sent off the 10/11 favourite despite having been off the track since last April and he was the first horse beaten, leaving Snow Falcon and Lieutenant Colonel to battle it out after the last. Snow Falcon responded to Sean Flanagan's every urging, pulling clear at the line.
Meade said: "Our biggest problem was that he was jumping so badly, and he was practically losing a length at all his hurdles. He's had a little back problem which has been causing him not to jump well. If he jumps like he jumped today, he can go anywhere.
"He'll take his chance in the World Hurdle now and go straight there. Hopefully he might jump a bit better. Three miles will be right up his alley. Monksland has more pace than him but this fella really stays."
Ladbrokes go 25/1 from 50s about Snow Falcon for the World Hurdle.