Winning start over fences for Shaneshill at Thurles
Shaneshill, runner-up to Douvan in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle last season, made a winning chasing debut in the Killinan Beginners Chase at Thurles.
Just below the very best over timber last season, Willie Mullins views him as a staying prospect in time, yet he started life in his new discipline over two and a quarter miles.
Settled in third by Ruby Walsh, he was efficient if not spectacular for most of the race and when the contest began to develop there was a brief moment of worry. At the third-last, Shaneshill got in a little tight and lost a few lengths but on landing Walsh shook him up and he quickly shot past his rivals, meaning he approached the second-last with a few lengths to spare.
On the run to the final fence only Walk To Freedom was still in touch and Shaneshill (1-4 favourite) pinged it to coast clear and make the perfect introduction in winning by three and three-quarter lengths.
Hewas left unchanged as the 8-1 favourite with Betfred for the JLT Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.
Mullins said: "I was happy with what I saw and I don't think he made any mistake. I was very happy the way he jumped the last three and he had to kick on over the last two.
"I have no plans yet, he's in all the good ones (over Christmas) but I'd like to keep him and Douvan apart.
"He could step up in trip, but I'll see what I have at Christmas - I hope to have the same problem in three weeks' time!"