Un Atout Cruises To Hurdle Success

Sat 8th Dec 2012, 12:33

Un Atout and Davy Russell pop the last
©Healy Racing Photos
By Gary Carson
Un Atout wasn't stretched as he made a winning debut over timber in the opening Kells Maiden Hurdle at Navan.

Davy Russell made all on the French-bred and didn't have to ask him too many questions to post a four-and-three-quarter length victory over Fickle Fortune.

The Willie Mullins-trained four-year-old was sent off the well-backed 1/2 favourite (from 4/6) and punters never had an anxious moment.

He had his rivals at work after the third last and popped the last two to cruise home on the bridle.

The winner was maintaining his unbeaten record having made an impressive debut in a bumper at Naas back in January.

"We knew he would probably have to make the running but he was brave in front to go and make it first time over hurdles," said Mullins

"He jumped like a chaser early on but his jumping flattened out as he sped up.

"He's probably more of a stayer and he's a chaser for the future.

"We'll see how he comes out of this and we'll definately have a look at Christmas. He'll be entered in all the top novice races."

<Un Atout was the first of six horses on the card that look set to go off at short prices today.

Stan James cut the winner from 25/1 to 20/1 for the Neptune Hurdle at Cheltenham and from 25/1 to 16/1 for the Supreme Novices.

(Additional reporting by Alan Magee)

GRAND NATIONAL - The Northern Challenge

The Sue Smith-trained Auroras Encore was the last northern-trained horse to win the Grand National back in 2013 but recent victories for that part of the country have been thin on the ground since the likes of Lucius, Rubstic and Hallo Dandy in the late 70s early 80’s showed that steeplechasing was in a healthy state north of the Watford Gap with the likes of Gordon W Richards, Denys Smith, Arthur Stephenson, Peter Easterby and Jimmy Fitzgerald capable of holding their own against their southern and Irish counterparts.