Boston tipped for top after victory
Boston Bob looked a star in the making when running out a most impressive winner of the Grade One Navan Novice Hurdle for trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh yesterday.
Odds-on favourite Mount Benbulben, trained by Gordon Elliott, tried to make all under Paul Carberry but jumped right at many of the obstacles, giving away ground.
On the run down to the final flight Boston Bob quickened up in the style of a top-class performer and the former Howard Johnson-trained six-year-old ran out a four and a half length winner.
Paddy Power cut the winner to 12-1 from 16-1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and 16-1 from 20s for the Neptune Investment.
Mullins said: “We are delighted with him. We worked him about a month to six weeks ago and couldn't believe what he did for a big, old fashioned chasing type.
“We thought if he could reproduce that on the track we would have a racehorse.
“He'll be entered in both the longer-distance novice hurdles at Cheltenham and he'd have no trouble with either the two-five (Neptune) or the three-miler (Albert Bartlett).
“I'm not sure which way we will go yet.”
Mullins and Walsh were completing a big-race double after the earlier success of Zaidpour in the Tara Hurdle.
Mullins' charge started this season with questions to answer but looked like his old self when winning on his return at Thurles, and the money came pouring in for him in this Grade Two event.
He tracked Prima Vista into the straight before flying the last, and Walsh only needed to nudge him out to beat the outsider Benash by an easy 10 lengths.
Several bookmakers cut the 1-3 winner from 33-1 to 25-1 for the Champion Hurdle.
Mullins said: “That was a good performance. He is starting to do what I thought he'd do last year.
“He's doing a lot of work on the sand and that seems to be paying off.
“I doubt that he'll run at Christmas. We'll find something for him over two and a half miles in the New Year.”
The chases on the card were not run due to lingering frost in the ground with the handicap chase rescheduled for today’s meeting which promises a fairly even spread of the spoils.
Robert Tyner, who makes his way up from Kinsale with just one runner, supplies the nap selection in the shape of Its The Ice I Like.
The second horse in Tyner's yard to sport JP McManus' colours following the successful hurdling debut of Whatwillwecallher at Limerick last month, Its The Ice I Like will bid to follow suit in this afternoon's two-mile maiden hurdle under Philip Enright.
A point-to-point winner in the spring, this one landed a Clonmel bumper in comprehensive fashion just over a month ago.