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Meade thrilled as Dubh strikes Gold

Realt Dubh franked his previous form with Noble Prince to land the Powers Gold Cup yesterday, the feature race of the opening day of the Fairyhouse Easter Festival.

However, unlike when the previous two encounters between the pair, Realt Dubh did so with some fortuitous ease as he was left clear as Noble Prince exited at the second last.

Paul Nolan's Jewson Chase winner was sent off the 13/8 favourite to reverse the form with Cheltenham's Arkle Chase third, and just as they set down to battle at the second-last from home, Noble Prince got the fence all wrong and gave Tony McCoy no chance, leaving the eventual winner clear of Loosen My Load.

"That's three-nil!" quipped trainer Noel Meade afterwards as he claimed the race for a third time.

He continued: "I think we had him anyway! Who knows?"

Meade previously won the race with Thari and Aran Concerto, and Realt Dubh was given a 25/1 quote for next season's Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

Indeed, Meade didn't rule out a quick reappearance at next week's Punchestown Festival, where he's in the two-mile novice chase.

"He could go to Punchestown, we will just wait and see what way the ground is and how he comes out of it. It's quite possible he will go, but it's quite possible he won't go. I won't make up my mind just yet, but why not as he's not a novice next season."

Meade added: "I thought Realt Dubh was better going left handed and the ground would suit Noble Prince better today, but in saying that Paul said that the ground was too tacky for Realt Dubh at Cheltenham and that he'd be better on better ground."

The Punchestown Festival is unlikely to be the next port of call for Knockfierna but we will undoubtedly hear an awful lot more about her after she completed a four-timer for Charles Byrnes.

The daughter of Flemensfirth continued the winning sequence in the Grade Two Mares Novice Hurdle and Byrnes revealed: "She's unlikely to go to Punchestown, we will probably school her over fences and give her a break."

The Limerick trained added: "We didn't think her last run was good enough but the form of her previous run was, so we were more hopeful as it was a very competitive race."

Byrnes and Davy Russell completed a double on the card as Campbonnais claimed the Ryan's Cleaning Event Specialist Beginners Chase.

Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins combined in the opening maiden hurdle as Sicilian Secret opened his account over flights and is another who may be found at Punchestown next week.


The eight-year-old was the 11/10 favourite and held off the challenge of Dessie Hughes' Ross Na Righ, and Mullins said afterwards: "Although Punchestown is a bit soon, he may go there or else, if the ground stays like this, we might keep him in training for a novice chase early next month."

The concluding bumper was won in very impressive fashion by the John Kiely-trained Reizovic, in the hands of David Kiely.

There was a full jump card at Cork and Punchestown-bound could be Kalann, who won the opener for Sabrina Harty and may go for the Grade One Juvenile Hurdle on the final day of the meeting.

The Jessica Harrington-trained Roberto Goldback claimed the feature contest on the card, the listed Imperial Call Chase, and he will now go for the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup.

Captain Paulie won the handicap hurdle for Colm Murphy and completing a double for Roberto Goldback's jockey, Robbie Power, and he is likely to "go for something similar at Punchestown", according to the trainer.