By Racinguk.com staff
Paul Townend was positive from flag-fall aboard the 4-9 favourite and only main market rival Petit Mouchoir opted to go with him, as he set a strong pace in the two-mile-one-furlong Grade One contest.Footpad puts in a more fluent leap than Petit Mouchoir on his way to victory in the Irish Arkle (Racingfotos)
Petit Mouchoir, who was returning from 108 days off the track, was noticeably on his toes before the race and clattered the second fence before eventually settling on Footpad's heels as the other three runners toiled some way behind.
With two to jump, Townend turned up the pace on Footpad and while he clipped the final obstacle, the Willie Mullins-trained victor never looked in danger as Petit Mouchoir ploughed on for second, with Any Second Now third.
Paddy Power make Footpad the 10-11 favourite for the Arkle Trophy at next month's Cheltenham Festival.
“He jumps like a stag, you’d swear he’s jumping fences all his life. It was a great thrill riding him, he was deadly," said Townend.
”I thought it was a really good performance and he did it the hard way, making all his own running.”
Davy Russell, rider of Petit Mouchoir, said: “We were a bit disappointed because at the start of the season we thought we had the best but it seems there’s one better than us. He made two early mistakes and that put manners on him.”
The pair finished 19 lengths clear of the third horse home, Any Second Now.
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