Sir Des Champs defies absence to win in style
Sir Des Champs is firmly back in the big-race picture after an assured return to action at Thurles yesterday.
Willie Mullins's 2013 Gold Cup runner-up had been sidelined due to injury since finishing a sub-par fourth to Bobs Worth in that year's Lexus Chase.
The nine-year-old was a well-backed 11/10 favourite to overcome his lay-off against inferior rivals in the aptly named Boomerang Chase, and duly won in style.
Sir Des Champs readily reeled in the long-time leader Rubi Light to win going away under Bryan Cooper, and now joins fellow Gigginstown Stud horses like Don Cossack, Road To Riches and Don Poli as a serious contender for the major staying chases.
"I'm very happy with that," Mullins admitted. "He loves racing like that and it took him a mile-and-a-half or two miles to warm up. He was getting all the allowances and had his trip and ground. He hasn't given me a moment's worry since he came back but I didn't work him for this race. He'll probably run in the Lexus next."
Cooper missed out on a double by choosing Just Cause over Gordon Elliott's Roman Gold (7/2) in the novices' hurdle, the latter prevailing decisively for Jack Kennedy.
Mullins doubled up when Myska (4/7) hacked up for Ruby Walsh in the mares' maiden hurdle, and Walsh completed a brace by foiling the gambled-on Lake Field aboard Pat Fahy's 6/1 shot Micras in the handicap hurdle.
Micras had to survive a stewards' inquiry before being called the winner, as did Long House Island in the preceding event. The 2/1 favourite was trained and ridden by Denis Hogan. In the beginners' chase, with Moyle Park and Net D'Ecosse early casualties, Jessica Harrington's Ttebbob (3/1) proceeded to run out an impressive winner for Robbie Power.