Noble gamble pays dividends
Noble Endeavor justified market support with a clear-cut victory in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown.
Gordon Elliott's seven-year-old could only manage fourth when favourite for the Troytown but the money came for him again, forcing him down to 6/1 at the off.
The Crafty Butcher was a hot favourite for the all-conquering Willie Mullins team and was one of a handful in with a shout turning in, but Davy Russell conjured a big effort from Noble Endeavor, who stretched clear of the market leader to take the valuable handicap by three and a half lengths.
The Crafty Butcher was second ahead of Oscar Knight in third and Stellar Notion in fourth.
Winning owner Chris Jones said: "I suppose we just felt some day he had to win one of those big ones. I'm just thrilled it is today. It's fabulous, it's great.
"Davy is class on those days. We kind of had a Plan A and a Plan B and I think we switched to Plan B but it worked out."
Russell said: "To be honest I thought I would never win the likes of a Paddy Power because of my weight. All the credit has to go to Gordon, he had him spot on.
"A big handicap like this gives the rest of us a chance to get a good payday!"
It was a significant result for Elliott in his battle with Mullins to be crowned champion trainer.
"We were hitting the crossbar all week but they are running well," said Elliott.
"That's brilliant for Chris Jones. He's been a big supporter of the yard and I'm delighted to be able to repay him with a nice winner like this.
"We were probably a bit further back than we wanted to be early but they went some gallop.
"We've been second in it a few times so it's nice to win it.
"Davy has rode a lot of winners for us over the years but this has to be bang up there.
"I suppose the Irish National now would be the plan."
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