Chatham Street Lad had no trouble stepping up to three miles to easily win the Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase at Limerick.
A creditable fourth to Chantry House in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham just 10 days previously, the nine-year-old showed no ill-effects from that run.
Trainer Mick Winters thought this Grade Three heat was a good opportunity to try the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner beyond an extended two and a half miles, and so it proved when he outclassed his four rivals.
Chatham Street Lad travelled beautifully throughout, just off the pace set by Defi Bleu and Full Time Score, until Darragh O’Keeffe made his move after the third-last fence.
The even-money favourite cruised into the lead and sealed victory with a superb jump at the last, to come home 11 lengths clear of Defi Bleu. Full Time Score was 48 lengths back in third place.
“He thrived on the conditions and had more time to fiddle his jumps and I never saw Darragh so happy,” said Winters.
“He travelled over to Cheltenham fiercely well, but the ground had dried that little extra fraction for him and I was half-thinking of pulling the plug and not running him.
“I did feel he came home out of Cheltenham very well in himself and he loved these conditions today. I know you put your head on the plate a bit, but you can’t hide.
“The way he jumped there, you wouldn’t mind running him in a National on heavy ground, but I’ll leave that up to the owners.
“There is great prize-money now, like the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup over in Cheltenham, and great sponsorship and the money today was outstanding.”