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Energumene 7-1 for the Arkle after impressing Willie Mullins with stylish Naas victory

Wed 13 Jan 2021

A contender to Shishkin in the Arkle? Watch a full replay of Energumene's success at Naas plus read what a delighted Willie Mullins had to say after. Our report also includes reaction from Paul Townend.

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The Irish Arkle could be next on the agenda for Energumene after he maintained his unbeaten record over fences with an impressive display at Naas.

Having already won a point-to-point, a bumper and on his sole start over hurdles, the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old made a smart start to his novice-chasing campaign when registering a wide-margin victory at Gowran Park in November.

The French-bred gelding faced a tougher test in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase, with Henry de Bromhead’s high-class performer Captain Guinness among his three rivals, but he ultimately got the job done in fine style.

Sent straight to the lead by Paul Townend, 10-11 favourite Energumene jumped accurately throughout to keep the pressure on those in behind.

Captain Guinness closed the gap rounding the home turn and briefly looked set to make a race of it, but the market leader asserted between the final two fences and pulled clear on the run-in to score by eight and a half lengths.

Paul Townend tells us more about Energumene

The winner’s stablemate Blackbow was a long way behind in third.

Mullins said of the winner: “That was very impressive, and his jumping was a key factor. He’s got a great method to jump.

“I brought him back to two miles to see if he would be as effective. He loves jumping.

“That was very testing going, and (he was) making all his own running. Paul just gave him a breather turning for home, and he’s picked up again. I was very taken with it.

“I’d imagine we will go down the two-mile route now, and the Arkle at Leopardstown would look the place to go.”

Energumene is now a general 7-1 - from 14-1 - for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham in March, making him the clear second-favourite behind Shishkin.

Mullins would later combine with Townend’s sister Jody for another all-the-way victory in the concluding Rushe’s Supervalu Flat Race to complete his personal double, the rider electing to go on with Belle Metal (9/4f) when there was no early pace and keeping more than enough up her sleeve to run out an easy winner.

Joseph O’Brien and JJ Slevin continued their recent rich vein of form in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares’ Beginners’ Chase when well-backed Miss Pernickety justified the 8/15 to take up the lead from the tiring long-time trailblazer New Money just before the last and score by five and a half lengths.

On Eagles Wings (2/1) bagged the INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle for Timmy Hyde and his grandson Harry Swan, who was emulating both his grandfather and legendary father Charlie by winning on his first ride over hurdles.

Elsewhere, Uisce Solas (5/1) landed the spoils in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle by 12 lengths for Declan Queally and Conor McNamara.

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