Captain Guinness got his career back on track with a first victory over fences at Punchestown.
The five-year-old was a high-class novice hurdler for Henry de Bromhead last season – and was not done with when he was brought down two flights from the finish in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Like many of De Bromhead’s horses, Captain Guinness was widely expected to take higher rank over the larger obstacles, but was pulled up on his chasing debut at Tipperary in October, after which he was found to be suffering from a heart problem.
With Rachael Blackmore again in the saddle, he was 4-5 favourite to show his true colours in the GAIN Supporting Laois GAA Beginners Chase – and jumped well in the main on his way to a near five-length success over Midnight Run.
De Bromhead said: “I’m delighted with that and Rachael was really happy with him. He took a little blow turning in, so hopefully he will come on from that. It’s great to get him back on track.
“Obviously he was very disappointing the first day and hopefully we can keep the heart right. Rachael said it’s very testing ground and she thinks he’ll be better on nicer ground.
“He did a piece of work since Tipperary and worked well. He’s just been tipping away since and we keep monitoring the heart. Certainly before and after he runs now we will always check his heart.”
Captain Guinness holds an entry in the Grade One Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Boxing Day, but his trainer added: “Christmas may come a bit soon and there is a nice race at Naas in early January.
“He can go there and if all goes well, then he can go to the Irish Arkle.”
Betfair cut Captain Guinness to 20-1 from 33-1 for the Arkle at Cheltenham next March.