Mount Ida got the better of Elimay in a thrilling finish to the John & Chich Fowler Memorial EBF Mares Chase at Fairyhouse.
Trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Davy Russell, Mount Ida looked set to kick on for victory approaching the penultimate obstacle as long-time leader Scarlet And Dove began to back pedal while Elimay was toiling in third.
However, Mount Ida and Scarlet And Dove came together in the air, costing both valuable momentum and allowing Elimay to nudge back into contention.
Mount Ida held a narrow advantage jumping the last and while Elimay gave everything on the run to the line, Russell’s mount held on by half a length.
Champion Chase winner Put The Kettle On, stepping up in trip to an extended two miles and five furlongs, failed to sparkle, dropping right out to finish last of the five runners.
Elliott said of the winner: “She’s a great mare and I’m delighted for the boys (KTDA Racing) as it’s the first day they’ve been racing to see a winner. They are big supporters of Irish racing and of the yard.
“They have eight or 10 horses with us, they are great lads and are going to be a force in the future.”
Mount Ida won the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival back in March when under the care of Denise Foster, beating subsequent Ladbrokes Trophy winner Cloudy Glen by six and a half lengths.
Elliott said: “She’s a good mare and she has kept progressing. I suppose Cheltenham was the first time she really showed it to us last year, she was brilliant in Clonmel the last day and very good again today.
“After Cheltenham she was very sore of her back and we got her looked after. She seems to be a different mare since it.
“I was thinking Grand National for her but we’re going to struggle to qualify her as they have to run over three miles.
“It would look like you’d have to go for the Mares’ Chase (at Cheltenham) after that.”
Betfair go 6-1 about Mount Ida’s chances in the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase at the Festival.
Allegorie De Vassy was another given Festival quotes after an 11-length success in the Wishing Everyone A Healthy 2022 Mares Hurdle.
Making her debut for Willie Mullins, the 4-7 favourite cantered home in the hands of Sean O’Keeffe to earn a quote of 12-1 for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Assistant trainer David Casey said: “She’s a grand, big mare and she’ll be a great mare to jump fences, the size of her.
“Sean said it was pretty straightforward, she jumped brilliant. She had been working well at home and on her French ratings she was thrown in. She had all that experience coming from France.
“She’s one that we think will improve away and she’s definitely a nice mare to look forward to.”
Jungle Boogie (5-6 favourite) made it a double for Mullins and O’Keeffe in the Happy New Year From Tote.ie Beginners Chase and a fifth win on the day overall for the trainer, who also struck with Stormy Ireland at Cheltenham, plus Al Boum Photo and El Fabiolo at Tramore.
Donagh Meyler was another to claim multiple successes as he chalked up a treble, kicking off with Carrig Sam (12-1) in the opening Happy New Year From All At Fairyhouse Maiden Hurdle.
Meyler then took both divisions of the Tote+ Pays You More At Tote.ie Handicap Hurdle with Where’s Frankie (17-2) and Full Noise (8-13 favourite).