A Plus Tard (blue cap) comes through to head Chacun Pour Soi (right)
© Photo Healy Racing
A Plus Tard (4/1, from 8s earlier in the day) was fancied by plenty and duly turned over Chacun Pour Soi in the (8/15 fav) in the Paddy’s Rewards Club “Loyalty’s Dead, Live For Rewards” Chase.
A second Grade One winner of the Festival for Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore, last season’s Cheltenham Novice Handicap winner came on appreciably from his run behind Ballyoisin at Navan and kept on strongly from the last to finish three and a quarter lengths ahead of the market leader, who was having his first start of the winter.
Ordinary World (33/1) was another six and a half lengths back in third, with perennial visitor Simply Ned a distant fourth.
The winner tried three miles in the spring when third to Delta Work at Punchestown, but showed plenty of pace here over this stiff 2m1f.
"He had some great runs last year as a novice, said winning trainer Henry de Bromhead, and I was happy with his first run back this season.
"We knew he’d come on plenty for it but the favourite was so impressive last year it looked like he’d be difficult to beat over this trip.
“I wasn’t convinced this was our trip but the softened ground helped and he jumped great.
“We’ll probably enter him now in the Champion CHase but in my head he was always going for the Ryanair.
“I believe he’s better going left-handed and I couldn’t find a race over two and a half.
“I think ground would come into play as regards plans (for Cheltenham). He’ll probably come back for the two-mile race here in February.
“Rachael always seems to be in the right place at the right time and she just keeps riding winners. She’s a pleasure to work with and wants it as much as all of us.”
The winner is 6/1 (from 33/1) with Paddy Power and Betfair,and12/1 (from 25/1) with BoyleSports for the Champion Chase, while he's 6/1 with Paddy Power (from 14s) and BoyleSports (from 12s) for the Ryanair Chase.
Additional reporting by Alan Magee