Sea in flying form ahead of Ryanair
Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Tranquil Sea returns shortly to the scene of that November triumph at Cheltenham in good heart for the Ryanair Chase following a smooth Newlands Chase success at Leopardstown yesterday.
Odds-on to recoup the losses sustained behind Golden Silver there after Christmas, Edward O'Grady's charge sailed to the front off the final bend for Andrew McNamara and wasn't bothered by the game effort of Natal.
"The owners wanted to let him run in this Grade Two rather than schooling after racing and thankfully it's gone very much to plan. He didn't have a hard race and I believe he will be even better on nicer ground," O'Grady explained.
Suffering earlier this season from allergy problems, pint-sized Won In The Dark followed up his recent Punchestown victory with an equally convincing display in the Ballsbridge Hurdle under a confident Davy Russell.
Sabrina Harty's stable star, which has been entered in both the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle and the County Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham, will only travel to the Cotswolds if the going was good.
"The ground would need to be right if he's to go over there as it's very important to him. We could decide to wait and go to Aintree instead, which would probably allow us to take in Punchestown as well," Harty remarked.
The Co Kildare handler has placed the six-year-old profitably since the Montjeu gelding bounced back to something like his old form after disappointing runs behind Solwhit at the Dublin track.
Stepping up to two and quarter miles yesterday on soft ground was a slight concern beforehand for Harty, who added: "On pedigree he was likely to stay okay and he will probably get two and a half miles around Aintree."
Although Jessica Harrington's False Evidence turned over hotpot King Of The Refs in the opening maiden hurdle under Andrew Leigh, Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh soon ensured the bookmakers would be forking out again.
A creditable fourth to Puyol in the MCR Hurdle over the same route five weeks previously, Tarkari was delivered with a well-timed challenge by the champion jockey to foil Jigalo for the opening leg of the Jackpot.
Despite a speculative entry in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival, Tarkari might be staying at home for the Easter meeting at Fairyhouse close to the homes of joint owners Cathal McCarthy and Eamon Duignan.
Cadspeed then benefited from a positive ride by Walsh and indeed slightly better ground when belatedly opening his jumping account in maiden company, and the layers saw yet another prime market fancy oblige when Stewarts House came home in front of Arbor Supreme in the Carrickmines Handicap Chase.
The final leg of the Jackpot brought no relief for the layers either, with Walsh's mount Citizen Vic getting the better of a duel on the run-in with See U Bob to complete his hat-trick for champion trainer Mullins.