Rule The World reigns at Naas
Racing:Rule The World looks to be another top-class prospect for Mouse Morris after he strolled to a 16-length victory in the Slaney Hurdle at Naas.
The Willie Mullins-trained Champagne Fever was sent off the 1-4 favourite in anticipation of franking his run behind Jezki in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse, but Ruby Walsh was sending out distress signals a long way from home and the Cheltenham Bumper winner trailed in a well beaten third.
It was later reported that the favourite was suffering from a respiratory tract infection. There was no such trouble for Rule The World (7-1), who entered the picture for the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at 12-1 with Stan James.
Minsk took over turning into the straight but Davy Russell was motionless and cruised to victory. Morris said: “It’s easy to be a good judge when you have a machine like that. He’s a nice horse and we’ll have to talk to the owners to see where we go; he’s still a big raw horse. Davy gave him a super ride and he jumped super. We’ll take it handy with him.”
Morris last took the Slaney Hurdle in 2008 with Venalmar who was subsequently narrowly beaten by Fiveforthree in what is now the Neptune. There was a dramatic start to an informative renewal of the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Novice Chase won by Marito.
Jim Culloty’s Beeverstown, a winner last time out, shied as the tape went up and unshipped Robbie McNamara. Walsh was content to follow Ballyadam Brook in the early stages on Marito before taking up the running going down the back straight.
He was followed by Mount Benbulben and Paul Carberry, fresh from his stirring success in the Welsh National 24 hours earlier. There was nothing in it as the pair jumped the last but it was Marito, the 4-6 favourite, who got Mullins and Walsh back into their familiar winning routine by a head.
Flemenstar and War Of Attrition have won the race in recent years. Mullins said: “He put in a good round of jumping, bar four out, where he showed he was able to fiddle one. He’s in the (Irish) Arkle (January 27th) — I don’t know if that’s too soon for him but we’ll have a look at it. He could go two and a half miles — I think he’ll stay no problem. It could be the Arkle next or the Moriarty.”
Mullins and Walsh did suffer an earlier odds-on reverse when Upazo was turned over by Jennies Jewel. Jennies Jewel, trained by Jarlath Fahey, was a beaten favourite at Limerick but bounced back to the useful form he had shown in bumpers.
Dermot Weld’s Grecian Tiger was sent off the 8-15 favourite in the bumper but needed the line badly as Totally Dominant closed to within a length. “He just began to tie up and he’ll appreciate better ground,” said Weld. “The four-year-old winners bumper at Leopardstown is the logical plan and we’ll see how he gets on there.”