Roche's charge to make quick return
Youlneverwalkalone could make a quick re-appearance at Cheltenham next Saturday in the Bonusprint Bula Hurdle after a most impressive victory at Fairyhouse yesterday.
Ridden confidently by Conor O'Dwyer, the 5 to 4 favourite delighted trainer Christy Roche and leading owner J P McManus when proving much too quick for Moscow Flyer from the final flight to take the Ballymore Properties Hatton's Grace Hurdle by three and a half lengths.
"I was in two minds all week about running Youlneverwalkalone because he has had his problems since he ran at Cork six-weeks-ago. It's a relief to see him win like that," said Roche.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we ran him back in the Bula Hurdle next weekend. He had plenty of pace but we still don't know what is his ideal trip," Roche added.
O'Dwyer was particularly pleased that the horse relaxed better.
He said: "At Cork last time he was racing most of the way, but today he was happy to lob along and then really picked it up when I went for him."
McManus confirmed that they were seriously contemplating Cheltenham next Saturday. "We might go there and leave the horse off over Christmas with Cheltenham in mind."
Moscow Flyer quickened off a slow enough pace three out to take the lead turning for home where, however, the favourite had cruised up on the outside after Cheltenham Festival winner Sausalito Bay had come down, thankfully escaping injury.
Punters, however, suffered a reverse in the Pierse Drinmore Novice Chase as evens favourite Limestone Lad lost his unbeaten record over the larger obstacles.
Sackville which had won impressively at Cheltenham last month moved up with a determined challenge as the front running Limestone Lad was headed by Arctic Copper after the second last fence where Well Ridden made a bad mistake.
Arctic Copper which was bidding for a third win in as many outings over fences touched the front before David Casey got serious with Sackville to take control after the final fence and win by four and a half lengths with Well Ridden a neck behind Arctic Copper in third.
Limestone Lad was beaten more than eight lengths ultimately, with his jockey Barry Cash reporting that the horse did not relish making the running nor jumped quick enough to establish a significant lead.
Michael Bowe, who does most of the work at home with Limestone Lad for his father Jim, indicated that this hugely popular jumper could go back over hurdles later this month.
"We will sit down and talk about it, but it could be a safer option to go back hurdling with him and aim for the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham again as he may have got a fright last time at Punchestown when he made such a bad mistake at the second last.
"Sackville may run at Leopardstown after Christmas in the Neville Novice Chase, but Cheltenham's Royal and SunAlliance is tailor-made for him." said trainer Frances Crowley.