Naas: Kitten Rocks for Walsh in Fishery Lane
Kitten Rock was the big winner on the day at Naas, with Edward O’Grady’s 4yo taking the feature Grade 2 Fishery Lane Hurdle on just his fifth start over timber. The Lavelock gelding had won his first two starts for O’Grady after arriving from France last year and was just touched off in the Grade 3 Tayto Hurdle at Fairyhouse next time out. He was last seen running a game race in the Champion 4yo Hurdle at Punchestown.
Today he finally landed a deserved first Graded success under Ruby Walsh, travelling well throughout before hitting the front two from home. He soon went clear to record a very easy 7 1/2 length victory from Henry Higgins, with Gerdago back in third. Walsh would later record a double on the card when steering home 5/1 shot Sir Harry Cash in the 2m 4f Novice Handicap Chase.
In what was probably the most eagerly anticipated race on the card, the Beginners Chase, it was the Mouse Morris trained Real Steel who came out on top in a battle with Le Vent D’Antan. Two of last season’s more impressive Novice Hurdlers, both were making their respective chasing debuts here and in the end it was a better round of jumping from Real Steel that made the difference in what proved to be a straight match-up between the pair.
Real Steel, who had been trained by Phillip Fenton, made nearly all under Bryan Cooper, with Davy Russell never far away on the Liz Doyle trained Le Vent D’Antan. The duo pulled clear of the rest down the back straight and went eye to eye after turning for home. There was little between the two but Real Steel got a better leap at the last and eventually finished 4 1/2 lengths clear of his tiring rival.
Cooper would record a double of his own later on the card when winning on the Willie Mullins trained Killer Crow in the 2m 4f Maiden Hurdle.
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Archive
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