Jewson joy for super Sir
Willie Mullins believes Sir Des Champs could be one of the best horses he has ever trained after his victory in the Jewson Novices' Chase at Cheltenham
Unbeaten since joining the County Carlow maestro, the French import was following up his victory in the Martin Pipe conditional jockeys' race at the meeting 12 months ago.
This represented a much tougher task, but the 3-1 shot was always travelling beautifully in the hands of Davy Russell and put in some extravagant leaps on the way to victory by four and a half lengths from the always prominent Champion Court, with For Non Stop another nine lengths away in third.
He is already a single-figure price for next year's Gold Cup, and it is not surprising considering Mullins is comparing him to Florida Pearl.
The trainer said: "He (Florida Pearl) came away unbeaten from the Festival (as a novice) for us and so has this fella. He's right up there with him, one of the best I've had. Make no mistake, this is a racehorse.
"He was very good and I'm really looking forward to next year over longer trips. He was foot-perfect. Davy asked him plenty of questions and he came up every time.
"This is the first time he's had a real test this year as Gigginstown have had so many good novice chasers so we've kept him going out in the country in lesser races. That has obviously built up his confidence, because he was very good.
"Hopefully it will be the Gold Cup next year. I said to the owner I wasn't bothered what race he ran in this year as it is all about coming back on Friday next year. He might go to Punchestown if he runs again."
Peddlers Cross is set to revert to hurdles after finishing last. Donald McCain said of last year's Champion Hurdle runner-up: "I think we'll have to go back over hurdles. Jason (Maguire) said he was neat and grand, but just isn't as effective over fences as hurdles."
Trainer Martin Keighley said of runner-up Champion Court: "I think the winner is a Gold Cup horse so that was a great run, and everything went to plan. We'll see how he comes out of the race and maybe look at Aintree and Punchestown."