Walsh steers Sutton Place to Naas win
Sutton Place shrugged off an absence of more than 300 days to run out a convincing winner of the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas.
The market seemed to suggest the Grade Three contest was between Supasundae and Ivan Grozny, which filled the first two places for much of the early stages of the race, but Mark Walsh eased Sutton Place into contention on the home turn.
Travelling supremely well under a motionless Walsh, Gordon Elliott's 4/1 chance reeled in Supasundae at the last and charged home to score by seven-and-a-half lengths.
"I'd say he's a fair one and you'd like the way he has galloped to the line. He has improved a good bit from last year and has got stronger and he's a horse for jumping fences down the road," said Elliott.
"There's no chance he'll run in the Newbury race as he's a horse for next year. I'll talk to Frank (Berry, owner JP McManus' racing manager). We might keep him at home (instead of going to Cheltenham), but we'll talk to the lads and see."
Anibale Fly gave owner McManus and Walsh a big-race double when getting the better of a thrilling duel with A Genie In Abottle to land the Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase.
Walsh was happy to sit off the pace on Tony Martin's seven-year-old, and was still quietly creeping into contention at the second-last, where A Genie In Abottle and Balko Des Flos made their bids for home.
Anibale Fly (7/2) got on terms at the last and appeared to be travelling much the best, but he eventually had to pull out all the stops to gain the upper hand, eventually prevailing by three-quarters of a length.
The winner was bouncing back after being pulled up at Kempton over Christmas, and Martin said: "I was adamant in Kempton that it was just the ground - it was one of those things and I had never seen ground as good at that time of the year.
"There was nothing wrong with him but today proves it was the ground, as he was beaten after three or four fences. Last week (at Leopardstown) it also seemed too good again to take a chance.
"He always showed he was a decent horse and it was no bad race today. I wouldn't be too worried about ground, as long as it was as yielding as today."
Sunday Indo Sport