Defy Logic sets sights on Arkle glory
PAUL Nolan enjoyed a Leopardstown afternoon "up there with my best days" as the bold-jumping Defy Logic headlined a double for the popular trainer with victory in the Racing Post Novice Chase.
Champion Bumper and Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Champagne Fever was all the rage for the Grade One feature, looking to cement his place as Arkle favourite following his chasing bow at Punchestown last month.
The 8-15 favourite jumped smartly in the main in the hands of Ruby Walsh, but 7-2 shot Defy Logic matched him all the way as the two engaged in a real tussle for the lead heading down the back straight.
Defy Logic was the first to fluff his lines under Mark Walsh three fences from home, but Champagne Fever then hit the second-last hard to hand the clear initiative to the Nolan runner.
There was no way back for the hot favourite as he weakened quickly from the home turn and Defy Logic bounded over the final fence to seal a three-and-a-half-length triumph.
Nolan said: "I was worried that he was going to be one of those horses that was talked up but never delivered, but now he has a Grade One win to his name and I'm delighted.
"All going well he will come back here for the Arkle. This is right up there with my best days."
Willie Mullins made no excuses for Champagne Fever.
He said: "We didn't jump the second-last and that was it – our game gone.
"Whether we should go out in trip with him, I don't know. We'll go home and reflect on it."
Just over half an hour earlier Nolan claimed the Racing Post All You Need For Irish Racing Handicap Chase as Bryan Cooper steered 5-1 shot King Vuvuzela to a comfortable victory.
It was an overall disappointing afternoon at the Foxrock track for Mullins.
As well as seeing Champagne Fever turned over at long odds-on, the previously unbeaten Analifet was pulled up early in the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle with a suspected fractured pelvis.
Mullins said of the filly, who had been ante-post favourite for Triumph Hurdle: "She will probably have to stand for maybe six, eight, 10 or 12 weeks. I'd imagine she'll be OK."