Shaneshill (4/7) justified his market position in the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Novice Chase at Naas as the second favourite Kitten Rock disappointed in third. He was found to be lame behind post race.
Continuing the good work of the Wylie-owned and Willie Mullins-trained horses, Ruby Walsh was again the man handed the task of bringing home an odds-on shot for connections (following on from recent wins for Nichols Canyon, Up For Review and Yorkhill).
Shaneshill made a mistake at the second last and 'let fly' at the last but there was no doubting his superiority up the run-in as he went away to defeat Sizing Codelco by four and a half lengths.
Kitten Rock was labored when asked for more by Barry Geraghty from before the second last. Ultimately he ended up sixteen lengths off the front pair.
"He gave me a fright at the second last and again at the last. Ruby really asked him at the last, and at least he was slick under pressure," reflected Mullins.
"I was surprised how much speed he showed against good horses, and I'm very happy with him. The Grade 1 at Leopardstown (February 6) would look the obvious target time wise. He might just need a bit more practice on a racetrack."
The following was the reaction of the layers about Shaneshill ante-post prospects for Cheltenham — BoyleSports, Shaneshill 4/1 fav (from 6/1) for the JLT, 10/1 (from 14/1) for the Arkle.
Betfair — Shaneshill 6/1 (from 7/1) for the JLT and 14/1 (unchanged) for the Arkle.
Paddy Power go 5/1 fav (from 6/1) about Shaneshill for the JLT.
E. J. O'Grady, trainer of Kitten Rock (FR), reported to the Stewards' Secretaries that his charge was found to be lame behind post race.