Noah Webster powers to victory in Naas to keep Aidan O’Brien record intact
AIDAN O'Brien maintained his 100pc record since his return to training National Hunt horses when Noah Webster dented some tall reputations in the Follow Us On Facebook Maiden Hurdle at Naas.
After two victories from the smart-looking prospect Carriganog, Noah Webster, without a win on the level after nine races, looked a natural with eight flights of hurdles in his way.
The Mouse Morris-trained pair of Akorakor and The Doorman were both well fancied, while Is This Love had won his only point-to-point, but none of them had an answer to Noah Webster, who jumped to the front with a big leap at the last.
Robbie Power squeezed him through a gap on the rail inside Is This Love, and Noah Webster, a son of Galileo, powered away to win by four lengths.
"He did it very well. He was very impressive in a schooling hurdle in Tipperary the other day. He's going to be a lot better hurdler than a Flat horse. He jumped very well and jumped very quickly," said Power of the 14-1 winner.
Twinlight ran out a very impressive winner of the Grade Three Poplar Square Chase for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.
What looked a competitive race on paper was turned into something of a procession by the six-year-old, who tracked Realt Mor for much of the contest.
There were four in line at the second-last as the favourite Oscars Well and Dylan Ross joined issue but the latter took a crashing fall.
Walsh gave his mount an inch of rein between the final two fences and the race was over as the 11-4 second-favourite pulled seven lengths clear of Oscars Well.
Special Tiara fell at the first and Alderwood made a mistake at the same fence and never looked happy throughout.
Mullins said: "That was a big improvement. He came in very strong this season. I was very happy with the way he was after coming in from grass.
"He didn't get a break last year as he was on the go through the summer as we were aiming at the Galway Hurdle. The fact that he got a break this summer, you can see the improvement in him.
"It looks like a fair improvement in form for him to take on horses like that and beat them the way he did. I'd imagine we'll keep him at two miles. I had thought with the strength of him we might go two and a quarter or two and a half.
"He doesn't have to make the running and Ruby was able to sit in behind today. That gives us more options if we decide to go over a longer trip."
Following his fall from Dylan Ross, Power was stood down for the remainder of the afternoon.
Rule The World made a pleasing return from injury when winning the Hospitality At Naas Racecourse Hurdle.
Second at the Cheltenham Festival in March to new Champion Hurdle favourite The New One, he looked the class act on paper beforehand and travelled through the race as such.
However, at the second-last flight Oliver Brady's King Shabra got first run and shot four lengths clear meaning Davy Russell had to work quite hard on Mouse Morris' charge.
The class of the 6-4 favourite shone through in the end, however, and he pulled two and a half lengths clear.
Rule The World was given a 16-1 quote for the World Hurdle by Paddy Power.
Rule The World fractured a pelvis when running at the Punchestown Festival but made a quick recovery.
Morris said: "He'll stay hurdling this season.
"It's great to have him back after his injury. He looks a chaser in the making."
Paul Nolan has always thought the world of Defy Logic and while he maybe did not quite reach the heights expected over timber, his trainer always felt his future was over fences and he made an impressive start to his new career in the Weatherbys Ireland GSB Beginners Chase.
Making all the running under Mark Walsh, Defy Logic (2-5 favourite) jumped well in the main and despite being a headstrong character over hurdles, appeared to settle much better.
What will have pleased his connections was that he showed a smart turn off foot away from the back of two out and put 19 lengths between himself and Golanbrook in the straight.
The winner was given a 16-1 quote for the Arkle by Paddy Power, and Nolan's brother and assistant, James, said: " You're always nervous when it's your best horse and I'm glad that's out of the way. He really relaxed today."