Outsider Ben claims Arkle prize
Benefficient won a dramatic race in a three-runner affair for the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown.
Tony Martin's charge made the most of a fall at the fourth-last fence of the hot favourite Arvika Ligeonniere, who was bowling along in front at the time, and had just headed Oscars Well when that one made a complete hash of the last.
That left Benefficient (10-1) to come home well clear under Bryan Cooper and register a second Grade One success after the Deloitte Novice Hurdle last February.
Martin said: "That's racing, we had the rub of the green today. It couldn't have happened to nicer lads, I'm just so happy for my owners. I feel so sorry for Willie (Mullins, trainer) and Rich Ricci (owner), but they were getting plenty of luck and it's our luck today. I just hope the other two horses are all right.
"We were a length off 'Puppy' (Robbie Power, on Oscars Well) halfway up the straight and we actually jumped the last a length in front of him, so you can't say Benefficient was lucky with regards to Oscars Well. I don't know, he might have won or he mightn't, but I'm absolutely delighted."
Looking ahead, Martin added: "I've no set plans. We got today out of the way and we'll see how we go now. He'll get an entry in the Arkle and Jewson (at Cheltenham).
"We'll pick what looks the lesser race and try and stay away from the likes of Simonsig. We'll set out to get place money, like today, and anything else is a bonus.
"He could wait for Liverpool as I'd much prefer a flat track and he disappointed at Cheltenham last year. It looked like he was going to be third or fourth behind Simonsig, but he only finished ninth. I'd say the boys would be keen on going to Cheltenham again, though."
Cooper said: "I won my first Grade One on him in last year's Deloitte Hurdle here at Leopardstown and it's great to get another one with him today. He might have fell on his luck a bit, but that's racing. They are there to be jumped and he did it well.
"I know Oscars Well missed the last, but I think I had him beat anyway and my lad galloped all the way to the line today. He threw in some very good jumps and deserved that."