The excellent Christmas run enjoyed by Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore continued at Leopardstown on Friday as  A Plus Tard struck in the Grade 1 Paddy’s Rewards Club “Loyalty’s Dead, Live For Rewards” Chase (2m1f).

The gelding’s victory followed hot on the heels of a memorable Leopardstown opener on Thursday for the pair that had featured victories by Notebook in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase (2m1f) and Aspire Tower in the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle (2m).

In addition, A Plus Tard’s win continued a productive run for Haras de la Hetraie’s Kapgarde, also represented on Thursday by the Grade 1 King George VI Chase (3m) hero Clan Des Obeaux and Racing Post Novice Chase runner-up Fakir d’Oudairies.

A Plus Tard, seen winning last season, continued a good run for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore on Friday – Photo: George Selwyn

A Plus Tard had been second on his return in the Grade 2 Fortria Chase at Navan to Ballyoisin, and travelled kindly for Blackmore on this occasion, going on to press the leader Chacun Pour Soi two out before asserting on the run in. At the line, Cheveley Park Stud’s five-year-old had three and three-quarters of a length to spare over the favourite Chacun Pour Soi with Ordinary World, also trained by de Bromhead, another six and a half lengths away in third. 

As a result, he was slashed into as short as 7-1 by some firms for both the Champion and Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

“It’s unbelievable,” Blackmore told Racing TV. “It’s been some Christmas. 

“He was brilliant and just stayed on really well at the end. He’s so accurate with his jumping. I had to switch out turning in but he got the job done well.”

A Plus Tard was purchased by Cheveley Park Stud following his win for breeder Mme Henri Devin in the 2018 Prix General de Rougemont Hurdle at Auteuil. Devin bred the gelding out of Turboka, a five-time winner over jumps. In turn, the daughter of Kahyasi is a half-sister to the French Listed-winning jumpers Dottore and Turbotin and out of Turbotiere, a triple Listed winner on the Flat.


Abacadabras another Future Champion for Davidoff

Also at Leopardstown, Abacadabras did his bit to maintain the good Christmas form of Gigginstown House Stud when justifying favouritism for Gordon Elliott in the Grade 1 Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle (2m).

A sketchy round of jumping failed to stop the five-year-old from overwhelming the four-runner field, with the gelding pulling clear for an eight length success over the Paul Hennessy-trained mare Heaven Help Us.

Abacadabras now boasts three wins from four starts this season and jockey Jack Kennedy was impressed, telling Racing TV: “He’s smartening up nicely. The ability was always there, it’s just taken him a bit of time for him to grow up. He can be clumsy but he’s got an awful lot better since his maiden hurdle at Gowran – he’s improving all the time.”

Bred by Evelyne Van Haaren, Abacadabras becomes a second winner of the Future Champions Novice Hurdle for the late Montjeu stallion Davidoff following the 2016 victor Saturnas. Indeed, the pair are the sole Grade 1 winners for Group 3 winner Davidoff, who spent the majority of his stud career at Haras de la Kammerholz in France before a switch to Haras de Saint Arnoult in 2017. He died aged 14 in 2018.

The Gigginstown House colours were also carried to victory at Limerick by Fury Road in the Grade 2 Lyons Of Limerick Jaguar Land Rover Novices Hurdle (2m7f). Another trained by Gordon Elliott, the Stowaway gelding survived a final flight blunder to win by a length from Well Set Up.


Popular Welsh National winner

Potters Corner, partnered by 17-year-old Jack Tudor, ran out a popular Welsh winner of the Grade 3 Coral Welsh Grand National (3m61/2f) at Chepstow.

Trained by Christian Williams in Ogmore-by-Sea, the gelding provided Wales with its first winner of the iconic race since Norther struck in 1965.

Sent off at 8/1 following his recent win at the same track over hurdles, Potters Corner travelled well in a stalking position behind the leaders and sent into the lead three fences from home, stayed on strongly to deny Truckers Lodge by a length and three-quarters.

“He was class today,” Jack Tudor told ITV Racing. “He almost travels too well. I didn’t have to touch him – he was so electric. Turning in, he was literally cantering. He doesn’t quicken, he just goes the same pace and I just had to keep him rolling away. He’s as tough as old boots.”

A son of the Group 1 Prix Ganay winner Indian Danehill, Potters Corner is the sole winner out of the Phardante mare Woodford Beauty. He was a mere €1,400 Tattersalls November Sale foal purchase by Martin Cullinane from his breeder Mrs P. J. O’Connor and was resold four years later for £30,000 to Bloodstocks at the 2014 Brightwells Cheltenham Premier Sale.

Earlier on the card, Allmankind turned in a relentless round of galloping to win the Grade 1 Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle (2m). The son of Sea The Moon set off at a brisk pace in front under Harry Skelton and never saw another rival to win by nine lengths from Cerberus.

Almankind was very impressive in the Grade 1 Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle – Photo: George Selwyn

Now unbeaten in three starts over hurdles, the Dan Skelton-trained gelding is as short as 6-1 for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. 

A homebred for the Gredley family, Allmankind is out of Wemyss Bay, a Sadler’s Wells sister to Beat Hollow and daughter of Irish Oaks heroine Wemyss Bight.


Bun Doran makes most for Desert Orchid success

The Tom George-trained Bun Doran claimed the scalp of last year’s Arkle Chase winner Duc De Genievres to take the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Desert Orchid Chase (2m), the feature event of Kempton’s Friday card.

The Shantou gelding made most under Jonathan Burke and aided by a clean round of jumping, fended off a trio of challengers from two out to win by a length and a half from Duc De Genievres. Sceau Royal, who travelled well for much of the race, was another length and three-quarters away in third.

A £76,000 purchase by Alex Elliott and Tom George out of the 2015 Brightwells Cheltenham Premier Sale, Bun Doran was bred in Ireland by Mary Griffin out of her excellent mare Village Queen. The unraced daughter of King’s Theatre is also the dam of Shantou Village, a Grade 2-winning hurdler, and Portrush Ted, a Grade 2 bumper winner, in addition to Bun Doran.

Manwhile, Global Citizen landed the the Grade 2 Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase (2m) on his second start over fences for trainer Ben Pauling. Last year’s Grade 2 The New One Unibet Hurdle winner outbattled Rouge Vif to win by a length and a half under David Bass.