Valseur floors Poli at Punchestown
Published 28/04/2015 | 22:16
Odds-on favourite Don Poli finished last of five runners as stable companion Valseur Lido clinched Grade One gold in the Growise Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown.
Having looked every inch a future Gold Cup contender when completing a hat-trick over fences in the RSA Chase at last month's Cheltenham Festival, Don Poli was the 4-9 favourite to bring his campaign to the perfect end.
The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old raced lazily throughout - just as he did at Cheltenham - only this time the response was minimal when Bryan Cooper asked for maximum effort and he finished well beaten.
Valseur Lido, third behind another Mullins stablemate in Vautour in the JLT Novices' Chase at Cheltenham, was a 15-2 chance off the back of a disappointing run in the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse.
But stepped up to beyond three miles for the first time, Ruby Walsh's mount travelled sweetly throughout and picked up from the final fence to beat the front-running Wounded Warrior by two and a quarter lengths.
Mullins said: "It's nice to have a nice reserve and for a team like Gigginstown to have three runners in one race.
"He probably just preferred that ground better than Don Poli. It was maybe too fast for him.
"I think Don Poli wants a longer trip. The Gold Cup is a fair long trip with the pace they go.
"This fellow (Valseur Lido) could go anywhere also. I've always thought he was a fair horse.
"He's not too bad on his day. He mightn't have the same constitution as Don Poli but he's a nice horse to have and for Gigginstown to have."