Ligeonniere claims second Grade One
Arvika Ligeonniere and Paul Townend
(Healy Racing Photos)
Willie Mullins charge again made all for success but had to work for his win today in the 2m1f event.
Paul Townend bounced his mount out in front and he had his rivals off the bridle going to the second last.
The 9/10 favourite needed to be asked for an effort going to the final fence and dug deep on the run-in to record a two-and-a-half length victory over Oscars Well.
The winner was supplementing his win in the Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse at the start of the month.
“He got a bit tired but the ground is heavy,” said Mullins.
“He settled well over the first and had a great jump. He jumped the second and third well and then piled on the pace.
“He missed the third last as Paul wanted an easy one and the horse kept going. Because he's so free Paul is not inclined to pull him back and fiddle one.
“Paul said he was idling turning for home – I was wondering was he getting tired. He's a big strong horse and we'll look forward to the Arkle back here in February.”
Boylesports were not overly impressed and make the winner 7/1 from 6/1 for the Arkle at Cheltenham.
Darlan (3/1) gave Nicky Henderson a fifth win in the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, producing a dazzling display under Tony McCoy.