Some Plan sole finisher in Arkle
Some Plan came home alone after a dramatic renewal of the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown.
Davy Russell and Some Plan on their way to winning the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Steeplechase at Leopardstown.
Four horses set out in search of Grade One honours, but Henry de Bromhead's nine-year-old was the sole finisher after Royal Caviar came down at the final fence when two lengths in front of Some Plan.
Davy Russell could then just coast home on Some Plan (100/30) to complete a fine week for owner Roger Brookhouse following the victory of stablemate Champagne West in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran on Thursday.
The field was reduced to two early on in proceedings after Identity Thief – also trained by De Bromhead – unseated David Mullins at the first fence. That was quickly followed by the exit of the well-backed 15/8 favourite Bleu Et Rouge, who was messy at the second fence and took off far too early at third, giving Barry Geraghty no chance.
Ruby Walsh looked to have control of the race on Royal Caviar but hopes of a hat-trick for him and Willie Mullins, after the wins of Melon and Let's Dance in the first two races, vanished at the last obstacle as he made his first mistake of the race at the worst possible time and toppled over after hitting the top of the fence.
Russell said: "I saw David (Mullins on Identity Thief) fall at the first, but I didn't know Barry (Geraghty on Bleu Et Rouge) had gone. I thought it was between myself and Ruby then, and obviously he fell.
"Ruby was going well and seemed to have plenty of horse under him in front of me.
"They are all a bonus. Henry's are usually very good to jump and they are a pleasure to ride."
De Bromhead said: "I was delighted with Some Plan and it's nice to win it. He is a very good horse.
"He was a 145-rated hurdler last year, he'd won two and had fallen at the second-last in Cheltenham when he looked like he might win. He's three from four (over fences) and he's won a Grade One.
"He came to us this summer and he's just a really nice horse. He'll go for the Arkle in Cheltenham, hopefully, he's entitled to go now and I'm delighted for the Brookhouses.
"It was disappointing with Identity Thief going at the first, I didn't really see what happened. He's generally a brilliant jumper and it was just a silly mistake. Hopefully we will get him back on track in the coming weeks. I think he needs to get out and go again – it sounds ridiculous, but from what I've seen at home, he's well able to jump, and that's what makes it all the more frustrating."
De Bromhead added that Champagne West is firmly in the Gold Cup picture at Cheltenham, subject to ground conditions.
He said: "We are leaning towards the Gold Cup with Champagne West, but we would want a bit of ease in the ground for him. The handicapper has put him up 12lb to 166, so he is one of the top-rated staying chasers in Ireland now. I think he's entitled to go. He gallops and jumps, so why not?"
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