Police fights for Thurles success
Call The Police was made to pull out all the stops by Foildubh in a thrilling climax to the Beamish Stout Phil Sweeney Memorial Chase at Thurles.
Second to Last Instalment in last season's Dr PJ Moriarty Novice Chase and third in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, Call The Police was the 2-7 favourite to get off the mark for the campaign and the Willie Mullins-trained 10-year-old went to the front heading down the back straight under Ruby Walsh.
He was being tracked all the while by Paul Carberry aboard Foildubh and after the pair turned into the straight well clear of the rest, it was only after the final obstacle that Call The Police sealed victory, finding a little more for pressure to take the Grade Three prize by half a length.
Mullins said: "It was worth missing Christmas for this. We had it in our minds to come for this race as it was a nice prize.
"We'll keep him to between two and two and a half miles. He could go further, but I don't really want to at the moment. The Kinloch Brae Chase back here (January 17) is a possibility."
Mullins and Walsh were expected to follow up in the Devil's Bit Beginners Chase with 1-2 favourite Cadspeed, who was seeking compensation for a last-fence fall with the race in the bag at Clonmel last time.
But the 10-year-old proved a major disappointment, finding nothing when tackled in the straight and fading into third as Brian O'Connell swept past on Philip Fenton's Pineau De Re (8-1), who held Stony Grey Soil's late charge by a head.
The winning handler said: "The favourite probably didn't perform, but he won snug enough. He learned more today than he did in his previous runs, but he's not over big. We'll try and find a novice handicap somewhere, but they are scarce."
The champion trainer secured his double when highly regarded 1-5 favourite Briar Hill, with his son Patrick in the plate, cleared away in the final furlong to take the Holycross Flat Race by seven lengths.