NOEL Meade's Muirhead could now head to the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury next month after what can only be described as a facile success in yesterday's Ladbrokes Munster National at Limerick.
The former classy hurdler took advantage of a relatively generous mark over the larger obstacles to cruise his way to success in an almost apologetic manner.
Sent off a 10/1 shot, Paul Carberry guided his mount into contention before the bypassed second last fence, to join the 7/2 favourite Bideford Legend who was no match for the winner.
The win was a fourth in two days for the red-hot combination of Meade and Carberry and the trainer admitted: “I don't know how he got through them fallers at the first – we got the luck there.”
Meade was referring to the falls of Tinakellylad and Glenstal Abbey at the first fence, after which, thankfully, both Tom Doyle and David Casey walked away without any broken bones.
“The Kerry National was the plan all along but the ground got heavy for him so we said we would come back here instead. He doesn't like the ground too heavy,” said Meade.
“The Troytown Chase at Navan is a possibility now or the Hennessy in England but the handicapper is hardly going to be easy on him.”
At the Curragh, John Oxx saddled a treble on the day including the Hacketts Bookmakers Irish Cesarewitch at the final meeting of the year at HQ.
Oxx produced three-year-old Minsk to complete his hat-trick and also in a very comfortable manner, this time winning in the colours of his new owner Barry Connell.
The former amateur rider, whose yellow and blue colours are becoming even more prominent, bought the horse as a jumping prospect and he was set to join Dessie Hughes today.
Oxx won the first with Call To Battle in the opening one-mile maiden, and the fillies’ maiden with Atlantic Swing.
Meanwhile, Champion Hurdle hero Hurricane Fly remains on course for his seasonal return at Punchestown next month in the Morgiana Hurdle.
“The Morgiana is the obvious race to start off. We'll have that at the back of our minds and see how we go,” admitted Willie Mullins yesterday.
“He missed it last year because he had a bit of a cough, so he will probably go there or he could go for the Hatton's Grace over two and a half miles.
“I don't see any reason to change his programme from last year.
“Fingers crossed he could have another good year.”