Clondaw Warrior and Ruby Walsh winning at Clonmel
©Healy Racing Photos
By Alan Magee
Clondaw Warrior took a major step up in trip in his stride when justifying odds-on support in the Jim Strang & Sons Kilsheelan (Peugeot) Hurdle at Clonmel.
The dual-purpose gelding was already a proven stayer having won over two and a half miles at Royal Ascot last year, and showed his class and versatility with a memorable victory in the Galway Hurdle this summer.
Ruby Walsh, whose wife Gillian is part of the Act D Wagg Syndicate, gave the nine-year-old a patient ride as Val De Ferbet cut out the running in this three-mile event.
However the writing was on the wall when the 5/6 favourite made smooth headway to challenge in the straight, and he jumped to the front at the final flight.
The Willie Mullins-trained gelding came home a very comfortable five and a half lengths clear of Val De Ferbet, with Taglietelle all of 24 lengths further adrift in third.
Paddy Power and Boylesports both introducedClondaw Warrior at 16/1 for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Mullins said, "Going on his flat form I was hoping that a step up in trip would suit but I hadn't bargained on the soft ground but he handled it against these.
"He didn't do any more than the ratings would suggest and we might look at staying at this trip. He could run in the three miles race at Leopardstown over Christmas, and I'll see what else we have in it but it would be a nice race for him.
"No other race came up for him so I decided 'why not three miles'. He is 152 at 2m4f and on his form on the flat he could be better over three miles. He could be 160 plus at three miles and hopefully that is what he is.
"There is also a two-mile race for him at Dubai on World Cup day for a million. He doesn't disgrace himself when he does travel but he could have a little bit of jumping to do first."
(TW & AM)