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Twin lights up Fortria

Twinlight made a most impressive seasonal reappearance in the Ladbrokes Ireland Fortria Chase at Navan for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.

Sent off at 100-30 for his seasonal debut, Twinlight, who has a preference for going right-handed, was kept wide by Walsh on this left-handed track and did jump to his right on a number of occasions during the two-mile contest.

However, he travelled powerfully into the straight and although he was untidy two fences from the finish, he was much better at the last and pulled seven and a half lengths clear on the level to secure the Grade Two prize.

Days Hotel, the 3-1 joint-favourite, boxed on for pressure to fill the runner-up spot, while the other joint-favourite, Baily Green, was found to be distressed post-race.

The talented Twinlight got last season off to a flying start by winning the Poplar Square Chase at Naas and the Hilly Way at Cork, but his form tailed off after the turn of the year.

Mullins, completing a big-race treble on the card and saddling his fourth winner of the afternoon after also striking at Limerick, said: "That was a nice surprise as I thought the ground might be a bit too dry. Ruby gave him a super ride and kept filling him up with air. He jumped great.

"The Hilly Way at Cork looks the next place. We'll run in whatever we can over two miles as that's his optimum trip."

The Mullins-Walsh combination had to make do with minor honours in the EBF Beginners Chase as Blood Cotil filled the runner-up spot behind Enda Bolger's Gilgamboa.

The latter won the valuable Hurdle at Leopardstown in January, before finishing down the field in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Making his fencing debut in the hands of Mark Walsh, Gilgamboa (5-4 favourite) jumped neatly and tracked the pacesetting Blood Cotil into the straight.

Mullins' charge got in tight to the second-last and again at the final obstacle, handing the initiative to the market leader, who pulled a length and a half clear at the line.

Frank Berry, racing manager for winning owner JP McManus, said: "You couldn't ask for much better. He has been schooling well and it's nice to get that out of the way.

"The first two jumped well and he was quick over his fences. He loves that ground, it's not too soft. He'd handle most ground, but maybe not heavy.

"We'll try and find a winners-of-one race for him. A step up in trip wouldn't bother him and we'll see what's around in the next few weeks."


From Belfast Telegraph