Footpad is foot-perfect

Trainer Willie Mullins felt Footpad (2/5 Fav) put in his best-ever performance when winning the Grade 1 RYANAIR NOVICE CHASE in fabulous style at Punchestown on Thursday.
The brilliant six-year-old came home 12 lengths ahead of Optimus Prime (Dan Skelton/Noel Fehily, 25/1) with a brilliant jumping display in the two-mile contest.
“That was even better than Cheltenham,” said Mullins. “I thought he jumped much bigger than ever before. He just seemed so well in himself and spring-heeled everything. He’d had to miss a bit of work around Aintree time and I wondered at halfway if he could keep up at that gallop. He could step up in trip next season, I’ll see what connections want to do.”
Jockey Daryl Jacob said: “Footpad was very good, wasn’t he? That is four Grade Ones now that he has achieved this season – he has been a fantastic horse for Simon (Munir), Isaac (Souede) and Anthony (Bromley). All credit to Willie again.
“For the first three-quarters of a mile, he was fresh, but once I got him over that, he settled into a lovely rhythm. I let him take on his fences when he wanted and four-out he put in a monster jump. He really grabbed the momentum after that and, given I was out in front, I could fill him up when I wanted to fill him up. He rattled into the home straight, was very good at the second last and then the race was won so I did not want to go for any heroics at the last.
“He is turning into the real article now. I felt today as if he has improved a lot from when I rode him at Navan. I spoke to Ruby after Cheltenham and he loved him, and Paul has loved him as well. When those two guys have high compliments about the horse, hopefully that goes to show that he is going to be the real deal.
“I rode him on this day last year in the Stayers’ Hurdle to finish third over three miles, and he had not been trained for that. There are plenty of options for him. You could have a crack at the Champion Chase or have a crack at the Ryanair. You could even go three miles and see what he is like in something like the King George, depending on how the racing goes. Simon, Isaac, Anthony and Willie will have a nice time thinking about it over the summer.”
Mark Walsh got A Great View (7/1) up in a photo for the ALANNA HOMES HANDICAP HURDLE, to the delight of trainer Denis Cullen.
“He’s workmanlike but when you ask him, he gives, he’s a very, very genuine horse.  We felt we were a bit unlucky in Cheltenham, he missed the one two out when he was going well so it’s great compensation for the team to get this,” said Cullen. “He really battles and he is tough.  It’s nice to win here because we’ve struggled a bit this year, the horses have run well but they’re hitting the crossbar but this guy now makes up for it.  This will keep us going now into the summer when we’ve a few nice horses to run so I’m delighted with that.”
The Dot Love-trained Dawn Shadow (10/1) got up by a length to win the CLOSE BROTHERS MARES NOVICE HURDLE.
“I was pleased to see Redhotfillypeppers was in there as she’d set a good pace and I said to Rachael (Blackmore) to get a lead for as long as she could,” said Ciaran Murphy, Love’s assistant. “What Willie (Mullins) has done is fantastic but today is our day with her. I suppose she is down in class a little today and she deserves a big day. We are really pleased with her.
“A strongly-run two miles suits her well. She’s a super jumper and fences are what we are waiting for.”
The concluding Kildare Post INH Flat Race saw a success for the Pat Fahy-trained Dunvegan (4/1), who came home a length and three-quarters clear in the hands of the trainer’s son Conor.
Today’s attendance was 20,204, compared to 19,072 on the same day in 2017.
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