Boston Bob (right) jumps the second as Lord Windermere blunders
©Healy Racing Photos
By Thomas Weekes
Champion Trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Paul Townend completed a Grade 1 double at Leopardstown today when Boston Bob landed a thrilling renewal of the top level Dr. P.J. Moriarty Novice Chase.
The 6/4 favourite raced prominently but became outpaced in fourth place from the second last fence.
Texas Jack and Lord Windermere looked set to fight out the finish, with Lyreen Legend in third, on the run-in but Boston Bob did eventually finish with a 'rattle', hitting top gear late on the run-in to edge ahead ofp>Texas Jack at the line, for a nose win. Lord Windermere, which made a bad mistake at the second fence, was half a length back in third with a similar distance back to Lyreen Legend in fourth.
Mullins, who was recording his 12th Grade 1 of the season, later joked “after watching the replay two or three times now I still couldn't see how he got up! Paul wasn't sure either.
“Once Paul (Townend) dropped him back and gave him a breather he flew home and we're very pleased with him. It was a very brave performance from the horse and we changed tactics from Navan where he jumped very big and carefully.
“The drier ground at Cheltenham will be a huge help and I think he'll improve through the spring and on to Punchestown. In my head I was thinking of the Jewson (at Cheltenham) for him but there is four or five weeks to go and certainly if it was soft I wouldn't mind going for the Jewson but it does look like he wants a longer trip.
“I'm not sure he's yet back to his best form from last year but he is coming back. He didn't come back in in the same type of form and never worked as well this year - especially when he won here last year; we haven't seen him in that type of form since.
“Hopefully the better ground will make the difference and the way he jumps, he has every chance of being as good over fences.”
Paddy Power left Boston Bob unchanged at 11/2 for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham while Boylesports cut him to 5/1 (from 6s) for the same rac while Stan James are 4/1 (from 6s).
Lord Windermere's jockey Robbie McNamara later received a three day whip ban for failing to give him his mount time to respond.
Quotes from Gary Carson