'Permis' success puts Cheltenham in Meade's mind
Tout Est Permis got up in the final stride to edge out the front-running Sub Lieutenant in a pulsating finish to the Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase at Thurles yesterday.
Sub Lieutenant looked like making all the running, but the grey Tout Est Permis (13/8 favourite) - winner of the Troytown Handicap Chase when last seen - rallied on the flat to nail his rival by a short head and complete a hat-trick.
It was a one-two for owners Gigginstown House Stud and a double for trainer Noel Meade and jockey Sean Flanagan, who had been successful with First Approach earlier.
Meade said: "I haven't enjoyed a winner as much in a long time, because I was down at the final fence and I was sure he was beaten. I couldn't believe he got up.
"He wants further and softer ground as it was plenty quick for him. What will happen next, I don't know, but he could well run in the Ryanair. He is improving and is putting on weight and getting stronger all the time.
"I'd be more inclined not to go to Gowran now (for the Red Mills Chase) as it could empty him out over two-and-a-half miles there. I think he'll go to Cheltenham and he wouldn't run again (before Cheltenham), but I'll have to talk to the bosses first."
Meade, who also has Road To Respect for Cheltenham, added of Tout Est Permis: "He is in both the Ryanair and Gold Cup and, while he'd love the Gold Cup trip, he is only six so we'll see. If the ground was soft maybe the Ryanair; if it wasn't maybe the other one."
JJ Slevin came in for the spare ride on Sub Lieutenant for trainer Henry de Bromhead, after Rachael Blackmore had been stood down following falls in the two previous races.
Camelia De Cotte ran the opposition into the ground to record a convincing success in the Order Of St George Coolmore NH Sires Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase.
Paul Townend was in cruise control on the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old as she took her record to five wins from six starts over fences.
The 11/10 favourite quickly built up a handy lead and was never in any danger as she strolled home 20 lengths clear of Grey Waters in second place.
Ucello Conti benefited from the final-fence exit of Gwencily Berbas to register his first win under rules in Ireland in the Hunters Chase.
There was little to choose between the pair at the last, where Alan Fleming's charge crashed out to leave the 4/6 favourite to land the odds under amateur Barry O'Neill for trainer Gordon Elliott.
Samanntom was four-and-a-half lengths away in second, with Myrons a neck back in third.
Ucello Conti, which won a point-to-point a week ago, has run in the Grand National for the last three years and the Aintree showpiece could again be on the cards along with a trip to Cheltenham.
The King Of Brega came out on top in an incident-packed contest for the Matty Ryan Memorial Handicap Hurdle.
Chaos reigned when Like An Open Book fell at the fourth flight to give Blackmore a second successive fall, bringing down Paul Townend on Lareena in the process.
Paolozzi and Tourboy were casualties at other hurdles, while Polished Steel caught the spur of a rail in the straight.
Experience won the day with Henry de Bromhead's 12-year-old The King Of Brega (7/1) following up last month's course and distance triumph by beating Ask The Nile by six-and-a-half lengths under 7lb claimer Daniel Holden.