Outlander prevails from Poli in Lexus Chase thriller

Outlander and Jack Kennedy triumph in the Lexus

PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos) Outlander comes out on top in Lexus thriller By Keith Melrose 3:30PM 28 DEC 2016

Report: Leopardstown, Wednesday

Lexus Chase (Grade 1), 3m, 5yo+

A HEAVYWEIGHT renewal of the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown lived up to all expectations as Outlander prevailed under 17-year-old Jack Kennedy to provide Gordon Elliott with a first win in the race.

Outlander had jumped the last fence upsides fellow Gigginstown House Stud-owned runners Don Poli and Valseur Lido, and while the former stayed on and Djakadam rallied, it was Outlander who kept on the best to win by just over two lengths.

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Don Poli, last year's winner, held on for second to give Elliott the one-two, with Djakadam, who had conceded first run to the Gigginstown trio, a head further back in third.

Elliott said: "We've been hitting the crossbar all week so we’re delighted. Don Poli was brilliant and Outlander was great. It's a shame for Bryan but it's a hard decision to make and he'll have plenty good opportunities.

"Jack was always in a good place. I thought his last run was his best and he improved again today," he added.

David Mullins had been more forceful on Don Poli than previous riders and he was in front two out before Outlander and the strong-travelling Valseur Lido came up on his outside, which led to the photo opportunity of the season so far at the final fence as the Gigginstown runner jumped it in unison.

Valsuer Lido jumped it best but faded on the flat, with it his fledgling Gold Cup prospects. Conversely, how Outlander kept on relative to last year's Gold Cup placed horses Djakadam and Don Poli puts him into the picture.

William Hill introduced the winner at 16-1 for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, the best price available immediately post-race.

Perhaps tellingly, several firms reacted by trimming favourite Thistlecrack, with Betfred and StanJames going odds-on about the King George winner (still available at 5-4) following the Lexus.

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