One of Willie Mullins’s leading hopes in the novice chase division, Yorkhill, made a successful although to many uninspiring second start over fences when taking the Grade 3 “Money Back On Fallers” At Coral.ie Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Sunday.
In the hands of Ruby Walsh, the chestnut gelding had passed his first test over the larger obstacles at Fairyhouse last month and did so in flying colours.
He was positioned in third behind the leaders early on, but took up the running from the fourth jumping slightly out to his left.
The five-strong field began to pack after the second last and on the home bend, Walsh was still sitting comfortably on the odds on favourite.
Yorkhill cleared the last a few lengths clear of outsider Jett and was cajoled on the run in to score by a diminishing length and a quarter.
A seven-year-old son Presenting, Yorkhill continues an unblemished record so far over fences and will no doubt be on target for one of the major novice chases at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
“He was a bit keen and we went a fair gallop. He’ll learn a lot from today. It was typical Yorkhill in front, not doing a lot, but when they got within a few lengths of him he went on again and there was loads left in the tank,” reflected Walsh.
“I thought I went an hour too soon on him in the Neptune last year, when he jumped the last that day he ran around and pulled up. That’s just him.”
He sprang to prominence last year when winning three Grade 1 novice hurdles in a row. The second of those came in the Neptune Investment Management Hurdle when ousting none other than Yanworth, one this season’s leading Champion Hurdle contenders.
He’ll learn a lot from today
Mullins said: “He takes a good grip. He jumps a bit left, but that suits around here. Ruby rode him with confidence, but he was obviously very strong when he took up the running going into the back straight.
“His pedigree and everything suggests he could go out in trip, but whether he’s too strong to go a longer trip or not, I don’t know,” he said. “At least he got today’s job done and we’ll look forward to wherever he goes the next time.”