Ballycasey takes Red Mills Chase honours at Gowran Park

Sat 18 Feb 2017

Ballycasey ran out a determined winner of the Grade Two Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park.

Willie Mullins' grey was returning from a mid-season break but won the PWC Champion Chase over course and distance in October and was sent off the 4-7 favourite.

Clarcam took the lead off Montys Meadow at the fourth-last and appeared to be going better than Ballycasey, who went in pursuit, but Ruby Walsh had not played his hand and when he did approaching the last, Ballycasey found more reserves of stamina to pass Clarcam and score by four and a quarter lengths.

Mullins said: "I thought he was going nowhere going past the stands, and he seemed to get his second wind going up the back. His jumping kept him in the race, and to win on that ground was good.

"Once he found the other horses were not getting away from him, then he started to enjoy it again. I wouldn't have thought we will travel with him. I'd say he'll stay at home and find similar races to this."

Mullins and Walsh had earlier struck with Bachasson, whose quality shone through as he got off the mark over fences in the Beginners Chase.

A Grade Three winner over hurdles, the grey hit the deck on his chasing bow before beating all bar Edwulf at Punchestown last month.

The 11-4 chance raced in second, until taking the lead temporarily off General Principle down the back, before Walsh set sail for home three out.

Efficient leaps at the obstacles in the straight helped seal a six-and-a-half-length defeat of General Principle, who gave Bryan Cooper a good spin on his latest return from injury

Mall Dini was again a well-backed favourite but was beaten when making a mistake at the last and could only manage third.

Mullins said: "I was very pleased with how he handled that ground. I didn't think he could jump as well out of that ground. I thought he was more of a good ground horse, and it was good to see him do that.

"He's improving, and that was a real step up on what he'd done before. That could put him in the picture to go across (to Cheltenham) or aim for the Ryanair Chase in Fairyhouse."

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