Doyle eyes Festivals after Mallowney's Naas romp
Mallowney might be sidestepping the Champion Chase at Cheltenham, but after another impressive success at Naas, the progressive chaser will get a chance to take on the best two-milers at Fairyhouse and Punchestown Festivals.
Tim Doyle's charge looked ready to play with the big boys at Fairyhouse when he turned what looked a competitive renewal of last month's Dan Moore Memorial Chase into a procession.
Yesterday, the nine-year-old was an even-money favourite stepped back up to Grade Two level in the Paddy Power Your Local Betting Shop Chase and cruised into the home straight with plenty in the tank.
Moscow Mannon tried to throw down a challenge but we beaten when suffering a fatal fall at the final fence, allowing Mallowney to coast home 17 lengths clear of Rathlin under Davy Russell, with Twinlight third.
Mallowney will not be crossing the Irish Sea to contest next month's Champion Chase, but he could meet the top two-milers at Punchestown.
"It was very similar to the way he won the Dan Moore. Davy thinks he's getting more relaxed," said Doyle. "We'll stick to our plan and he'll probably go to Fairyhouse for the Normans Grove and Punchestown (Champion Chase) after that."
Lean Araig benefited from a power-packed Robbie Colgan drive to claim top honours in the Grade Two Paddy Power Shops Better Value Novice Hurdle. Victory did not look likely for much of the two-mile journey as Oliver McKiernan's six-year-old had to be given reminders at various stages.
But the 9/2 chance responded to Colgan's urgings and courageously fought off Modem after the final flight to pass the post a length to the good. Hot favourite Max Dynamite travelled well for a long way, but found little under pressure.
"I always felt that two miles was a bit short for him," McKiernan said. "All being well, he'll go to Fairyhouse and Punchestown."
Colgan was, however, suspended four days for using his whip with excessive frequency.
Empire Of Dirt (9/2 co-favourite) got off the mark over fences with a determined effort under Luke Dempsey to edge out Champagne Fever in the Woodlands Park 100 Club Nas Na Riogh Novice Handicap Chase.
"His pedigree suggests he'll get every yard of three miles and, on that ground, it was a proper test," said trainer Colm Murphy
Gordon Elliott's Tycoon Prince proved much too good for sole rival Up For Review in the concluding bumper.
"We think he's very nice and he's a big exciting horse to go jumping hurdles with," said the Meath handler of the 7/4 shot. "That's him now for this season and he'll have a nice break."
Trainer-jockey John Cullen was unable to do the weight on his mare Misty Lady (11/2) in the two-mile handicap hurdle, but was delighted to see Andrew Ring boot her to victory following a string of placed efforts.
The opening maiden hurdle went the way of Arctic Skipper (5/2) for trainer Vincent Halley and jockey Andrew Lynch, while the Francis Flood-trained Miss Xian had little trouble springing a 16/1 surprise under Mark Enright in the three-mile handicap chase.