Jack still the lad for Casey
Racing:Jack The Bus may now be a 12-year-old, but he showed there is still plenty of fire left in his belly when winning the feature race at Navan, the Foxrock Handicap Chase. Trained by Peter Casey, the 2010 Troytown Chase winner lumped top weight to victory to stamp his class on proceedings.
Ridden by man-of-the-moment Andrew Lynch, the veteran survived a bad blunder at the second-last fence to come home three lengths clear of Four Chimneys. Jack The Bus (7-2) had finished seventh when trying to retain his Troytown title and will now head for the Thyestes Chase at Gowran on January 26th.
“The ground was too fast for him in Leopardstown,” said Casey. “He will go for the Thyestes at Gowran now.”
Barry Geraghty escaped unscathed from a nasty incident when the 11-4 favourite Kakagh dived out through the wing at the fence in front of the stands on the first circuit.
Willie Mullins left the course with two winners, but had another two short-priced favourites beaten. The day started in good fashion for Mullins when recent French import Terminal (4-7 favourite) landed the odds in fine style in the 2012 Navan Membership Maiden Hurdle.
Winning jockey Ruby Walsh said: “First run you never like making the running, but he jumped super. We didn’t go much of a gallop, but he quickened up well from the back of the
last when I gave him a smack. When I gave him a second, he went further away and there was a bit left in the tank.”
Mullins added: “Once he is upped in grade we will see how much he improves.”
So Young (1-3 favourite) then won the Follow Navan On Facebook Hurdle — but what was established with the future in mind is debatable. Indeed, Stan James left him untouched for all of his future targets, which include the Irish Champion Hurdle.
“Ruby was not afraid to make the pace and he did it well from the front,” said Mullins. “He jumped well and is a horse with lots of stamina — his best trip is way beyond two miles. The Boyne Hurdle here next month is a possibility. He will be entered in the Champion Hurdle and the World Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
“In a fast-run, two-mile race he would be competitive, but I have no doubt that his future lies over two mile plus.”
Tom Mullins, Willie’s brother, was also on the scoresheet when top weight Baby Whizz won the Meath Handicap Hurdle (7-1) for Mark Walsh.
“We will see what the handicapper does with him now but he could go for the Boylesports Hurdle at Leopardstown next (January 28th),” said the trainer.
Oscar Dan Dan (9-1), formerly trained by Tom Mullins and now with Tony Martin, opened his account over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase. Willie Mullins’ Bagber was the 8-11 jolly, but a bad mistake two from home stopped him in his tracks.
Winner of the 2009 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle in his youth, Oscar Dan Dan may not reach those heights over fences.
Another Mullins hot-pot beaten was Are Ya Right Chief, who chased home the Noel Meade-trained Knockgraffon King (5-4) in the Navan Golf Course Maiden Hurdle. Paul Carberry always looked confident and kept him up to his work for a three-length win.