The Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle drew such a good field to Leopardstown yesterday that it seemed to have been named without the faintest exaggeration. But sometimes the past proves rather more pertinent than the future, and more than two decades of race-riding experience enabled Conor O'Dwyer to pull the carpet from beneath the lot of them on the 20-1 outsider, Whatuthink.
With some of the biggest reputations in Ireland at stake, the other riders were too busy watching each other to worry about the immediate lead stolen by O'Dwyer, who was three lengths clear at the first hurdle and deftly controlled the pace thereafter.
Forpadydeplasterer and Cork All Star confirmed their potential in the longer term by making the deepest inroads into his lead, but Whatuthink still had a length and a half in hand at the line.
True, his trainer considers the winner a legitimate Cheltenham contender in his own right. "He has been suffering from sore shins since he ran in the bumper there last March," Oliver McKiernan said. "We've only got him right in the last couple of weeks and he'll improve."
Opportunism of a different kind settled the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase in favour of Mansony, as In Compliance needed the run and Nickname no less plainly wanted softer ground, rallying well after getting outpaced. All credit to the winner, though, if a trainer like Arthur Moore is so eager to take on Twist Magic in the Victor Chandler Chase next month. Mansony jumped to his right and Moore believes that he may be more comfortable going that way round at Ascot. "He was a bit lazy in front and will be even better in a better race," he said.
Twist Magic's victim at Sandown last time, Voy Por Ustedes, meanwhile repeated last year's success in the Stan James Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton. It was an efficient display against inferior rivals, and a timely tonic for Alan King after Halcon Genelardais was foiled so narrowly in the big race at Chepstow.
The trainer had also sent Franchoek to Wales, where he confirmed himself one of the best juveniles in Britain with a determined display of galloping. Richard Johnson was really positive on Franchoek, kicking on from the fourth-last flight.Reuse content