'Awesome' Footpad proves foot-perfect for Townend
Footpad continued his ascent over fences with victory in the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown yesterday.
Willie Mullins' inmate looked the real deal on his chasing debut at Navan last month and, if anything, the five-year-old looked even smarter in this Grade One over two miles and a furlong.
Death Duty had little response when Footpad went about his business and ended up falling at the final fence when booked for third. Paul Townend enjoyed an armchair ride on the 4/6 favourite, which strolled home by a distance from Any Second Now.
Mullins said: "He's electric. From the first day at home that I saw him jumping over fences I thought he was the best I've seen for a long while.
"He was good on his debut at Navan but today he was just awesome. He gained lengths at his fences and he's one to really look forward to.
"I'd imagine he'd come back here for a similar type of race at the new Dublin Festival of Racing (Leopardstown, February 3-4)."
Townend said: "Riding a good two-mile chaser, going that gallop and jumping as well as this lad does, there's no better feeling.
"He was jumping so well, I couldn't disappoint him and take him back. We didn't hang around. We went a proper gallop and he was doing it in his stride."
Ellie Mac sprung a 50/1 surprise in the opening two-mile maiden hurdle to set up a 4,334/1 treble for Henry de Bromhead, who also scored with Paloma Blue (4/1) and Tisamystery (16/1).
Gavin Cromwell's Espoir D'Allen is second favourite for the Triumph Hurdle after justifying 1/2 favouritism under Mark Walsh in the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle, while Mullins sealed a double in the bumper with Blackbow's win under son Patrick.