Thedevilscoachman teed himself up for a possible tilt at the Irish Grand National with victory in the Way To Paris @ Coolagown Stud Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase at Limerick.
The JP McManus-owned seven-year-old was bidding for a second successive Grade Three prize for trainer Noel Meade, having been awarded victory by the stewards at Naas in late January after a thrilling tussle with Ramillies.
Denis O’Regan took over in the saddle from the recently retired Bryan Cooper and after stalking recent Gowran Park scorer Grandero Bello into the home straight, 11-8 favourite Thedevilscoachman picked him off on the run-in before pulling two and a half lengths clear.
Paddy Power make the winner their 5-1 favourite from 8-1 for the BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, although the Fairyhouse Gold Cup Novice Chase the previous afternoon is a possible alternative.
The owner’s racing manager, Frank Berry, said: “That was grand and the ground was made for him. It was an ideal race and you couldn’t have it soft enough for him. You couldn’t have asked for better today.
“We’ll see what Noel thinks and how he comes out of the race but we’ll see about the Irish National as if he got really soft ground, it might be a different kettle of fish and he could run in the Fairyhouse Gold Cup.
“Denis let him warm up into it and the further he went, the better he jumped. You could only be happy with him.”
Berry also provided an update on McManus’ retained rider Mark Walsh, who has been out of action since suffering a crashing fall from Corbetts Cross at the Cheltenham Festival last week.
“Mark is in better form this week and hopefully will be back for Easter. It is quite slow but he is getting there,” Berry added.
Select any odd to add a bet