Mouse Morris relieved as Baily Green steps up for Punchestown win
MOUSE Morris was left more than happy he had resisted the temptation to put Baily Green away as he completed a six-timer with a clear-cut victory in the Buck House Novice Chase at Punchestown.
The six-year-old was giving trainer Morris an apt success in a race named after his 1986 Queen Mother Champion Chase winner.
The Tipperary handler conceded he had thought of giving Baily Green a break but felt this Grade Three contest was worth going for.
The 5-4 favourite jumped ahead at the second-last and bounded away to score by 15 lengths in the hands of David Casey.
"We were going to give Baily Green a break but he was so well and there was this Grade Three for him and it wasn't to be sniffed at," said Morris.
"I could see Baily Green coming back for something like Aintree, but I'll keep my options open but he'll have to step up now.
"It's not that Baily Green doesn't go on the heavy ground, but it catches his wind."
Morris had earlier struck with exciting prospect Rule The World when the Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding made a winning debut under rules in the Buy Your 2013 Annual Badge Maiden Hurdle.
The 6-4 shot gave Davy Russell an armchair ride, coming home 13 lengths clear of Angelas Money in second.
Gigginstown's Roi Du Mee (6-1) won the Star "Best For Racing Coverage" Chase for the second year running after a pillar-to-post success, with his owners also responsible for runner-up Magnanimity.
Gordon Elliott's charge had the benefit of a recent outing and Paul Carberry made full use of his mount's race fitness.
The evens favourite Joncol tried to close but ran out of steam from the last in his first race since December as Magnanimity took second five lengths behind the winner.
Elliott said: "This was his Gold Cup! The plan was to make the running and we knew he had come on a lot from his run the last day.
"He won this race last year too and is a grand little horse who will pick up a bit of prize-money along the way this season."
Tarla made amends for a poor run on the Flat when emphatically making all on her return to National Hunt racing in the Grabel Mares Hurdle. The 9-10 shot was always travelling comfortably in front for Ruby Walsh and romped home by 12 lengths.
"Tarla just didn't handle the ground at Listowel - soft ground there is different, even though this was quite testing today," said trainer Willie Mullins.
"We are debating whether to go over fences or stay hurdling - looking at her there she'll have no problems jumping a fence and over the next month we'll have a think and see.
"She certainly looks as good a mare as there is around and while there's a nice mares series over hurdles, there is also a good programmer over fences for her - if she goes chasing I'd prefer to go earlier that later."
Miley Shah (3-1) made his race fitness tell as he led all the way when slamming Trifolium in the Ryan's Cleaning Events Specialists Hurdle by 32 lengths under Barry Geraghty.
Trainer John Kenny said: "We were getting 13lb from Trifolium and while it was his first run, we were fit and ready.
"We'll keep him going and he is still a novice so the Royal Bond Hurdle at Fairyhouse is an option."