Wednesday 23 January 2019

Leopardstown on Articulum agenda after Naas romp

O'Brien:
O'Brien: "Hopefully we’ll go to Leopardstown and take on Grade One company." Picture credit: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Articulum dominated from the front in yesterday's two-mile novice chase at Naas yesterday.

Terence O'Brien's even-money shot jumped beautifully in front in the hands of David Mullins, with Gordon Elliott's Campeador (9/10 fav) always in his slipstream under Mark Walsh.

There was little to choose between the pair as they jumped the second from home, but O'Brien's charge passed the post over seven lengths clear. O'Brien said: "Hopefully we'll go to Leopardstown and take on Grade One company. I'll probably leave him at two miles (in the Irish Arkle). We can always go up again."

Noel Meade has similarly high hopes for Valdieu following his impressive display in the opening maiden hurdle.

After five placed efforts in bumpers, the six-year-old came good in that sphere at Down Royal over Christmas and was a 10/3 chance for his hurdling bow. Ridden by Sean Flanagan, Valdieu eased six-and-a-half lengths clear of Final List.

Odds-on favourite Barrington Court finished tailed off and was found to be lame post-race.

There was a thrilling climax to the handicap chase, with Joseph O'Brien's 2/1 favourite Punches Cross lunging late under Mark Walsh to score by a head and a short-head from Quamino and Arvico Bleu respectively.

Meri Devie (5/2) made a winning debut under Bryan Cooper for Paul Nolan in the Mares Beginners Chase. The six-year-old jumped well and looked to be in command when nearest rival High School Days (5/4 fav) parted company with Rachael Blackmore at the last. That left Nolan's mare clear to score by 13 lengths from Grey Waters.

Trainer Luke Comer and jockey Ricky Doyle combined to land the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle with 16/1 shot Mystique Heights. Joseph O'Brien's Top Moon was all the rage for the bumper - but he was unable to get by Harry Kelly's 20/1 shot Aliym.

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