Quito De La Roque bounces back in style
RACING:Quito De La Roque gave Colm Murphy something to look forward to for the rest of the season after bouncing back to winning ways in the Matty Ryan Memorial Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles yesterday.
One of the best novice chasers in training in the 2010-11 season, when he won at Aintree and Punchestown, his career had seemingly been on a downward slope since beating Sizing Europe at Down Royal in November 2011.
Dropped back in trip to two and a half miles, Paul Townend made plenty of use of his stamina and the nine-year-old raced with his old enthusiasm in the testing ground.
The bang-in-form Roi Du Mee gave chase from some way out but Murphy’s charge jumped soundly in the straight to run out a six-and-a-half-length winner.
Quito De La Roque had his Gold Cup price halved to 50 to 1, but the John Smith’s Grand National could be his aim.
Murphy said: “He’s entered everywhere but he doesn’t have too many options and I’ll see what the lads say. The Hennessy and the Gold Cup are there for him and maybe he’ll be a National horse. Time will tell and we’ll dream on for a while.”
Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh endured something of a mixed afternoon as they had two winners, but two expensive fallers.
Mikael D’Haguenet, who himself has not enjoyed much luck over fences, enjoyed a confidence-booster in the WT O´Grady Memorial EBF Novice Chase. The Mullins-trained 1 to 2 favourite was not hard pressed in winning by two lengths.
His success came just half an hour after Djakadam came down at the last with the race in the bag. Mullins said: “Phew, there was better luck there. We’ll try and keep him to that sort of trip now (two and a half miles).”
Stablemate Ballycasey later entered the picture for the Cheltenham Festival with an impressive performance in the Novice Hurdle. Mullins’ Tarla looked beaten when she came down in the Novice Chase, in which Noras Fancy was a 14 to 1 winner.