Ruby scores with Kempes to complete double for Mullins
Kempes continued his progression over fences when proving too strong for some decent rivals in the Grade Two Nas Na Riogh Novice Chase at Thurles yesterday.
Having filled the runner-up spot on his first couple of starts over the larger obstacles, Willie Mullins' seven-year-old opened his account with an impressive defeat of Nicanor at Fairyhouse last time out.
Sent off at 9/2 to follow up, Kempes was always travelling strongly in the hands of Ruby Walsh and after taking over from hot favourite Jagoes Mill on the run to the final fence, he showed a smart change of gear to pass the post four lengths ahead.
Mullins' assistant Gary Davis said: "We were delighted with the way he jumped today and it opens up a lot of options for him now.
"Willie and Ruby will have to discuss where to go next but he's progressing well."
It was the second leg of a double on the card for the champion trainer and jockey as they had earlier combined with Cru (8/1), which needed the full assistance of Walsh when running out a narrow winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase.
Adrian Maguire's Let Yourself Go (3/1) put in a fine round of jumping in the Cashel Chase, making most of the running and scoring by 23 lengths from Tawnies.
"He enjoyed that out there today. He had a nice freshen up since Galway," Maguire said. "We'll look forward to Fairyhouse now, there is a few options for him there. The Powers Gold Cup is a possibility after that performance."
Lurgan (13/8) proved far too good for his opponents as he secured his first victory over fences in the Ballycahill Beginners Chase.
Winning trainer Dessie Hughes remarked: "He did as expected; he got stuck in the ground at Limerick the last day.
"He had a great run behind Jim Dreaper's Telenor at Navan so he was entitled to win on that performance. He will run in a handicap chase next."