Esprit notches Limerick success
Quel Esprit staked a claim for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham with a pleasing debut success over fences at Limerick.
The Willie Mullins-trained grey was having his first run in the Askeaton Beginners Chase since finishing sixth in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at last season's Festival.
Sent off a 2-5 shot, the six-year-old duly obliged though he was pushed hard by Torpichen.
Quel Esprit was always up with the leaders before Paul Townend sent him on as the field set out on the final circuit.
Only Torpichen could go with him and Edward O'Grady's runner actually led briefly at the second last, but Quel Esprit pulled out more to win by five and a half lengths.
"I'm happy with that. He'll probably go for a winners race now and then something at Christmas," said Mullins.
"The Drinmore might come a bit soon for him. The ideal race for him at Christmas is the three-miler at Leopardstown.
"Paul was very happy with him."
William Hill cut Quel Esprit to 16-1 from 20-1 for the RSA Chase while Stan James go 14-1 from 20s.