Alderwood (nearside) and Prima Vista battle it out over the last at Navan
"I'm delighted that he's won again after last season. Mark said the ground was more testing than he wanted.
"It turned into a bit of a slog in the end but I'm happy nonetheless. We'll try to keep him away from that ground and he may run in a handicap before Cheltenham.
"That was not an Arkle performance and I'd be thinking in terms of a handicap for him at Cheltenham." That was the post-race debrief of Tom Mullins to the press after Alderwood had justified odds of 8/11 under Mark Walsh in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Beginners Chase at Navan.
It's as well to focus on the words of Mullins because we didn't really get to see the 'nuts and bolts' of Alderwood's victory owing to foggy conditions at Proudstown Park.
What we did decipher was the J P McManus-owned victor showing his class from the back of the last to upstage Prima Vista by a length and a half.
As to the future Tom Mullins said of his super-star from last spring: "We won't be in a rush back with him after that slog." (AM & EM)