Robcour colours to the fore at Naas, ahead of big runners at Cheltenham

Irish Point put his top-table experience to good use as owners Robcour warmed up for the Cheltenham Festival with a big-race double at Naas on Sunday.

The five-year-old has campaigned respectably at Grade One level since scoring at Cork on debut for Gordon Elliott in November.

He followed that winning bow by finishing a head second to Marine Nationale in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse, before picking up another silver medal in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle shortly after the festive period.

Fourth at the Dublin Racing Festival, he proved far superior dropping back in class for the Grade Three Bar One Racing “Guaranteed Overnight Prices” Kingsfurze Novice Hurdle – making most in the hands of Davy Russell to justify 1-4 favouritism.

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“They went slow and he was able to do his own thing,” said Ian ‘Busty’ Amond, Elliott’s assistant trainer.

“He wasn’t doing much in front but Davy said he wants that type of ground.

“He was stepping down in grade and it was straightforward for him. It was a bit of a sprint from the second-last.

“He’ll probably go to Aintree and could run over two miles or two and a half.”

Owner Brian Acheson (centre) enjoyed a double at Naas on Sunday
Owner Brian Acheson (centre) enjoyed a double at Naas on Sunday (Brian Lawless/PA)

Brian Acheson will hope to see his colours carried to victory by Irish Point’s stablemates Gerri Colombe and Teahupoo at Prestbury Park next week and promising novice chaser Journey With Me kept up the Robcour momentum when adding the Bar One Racing “Extra Places At Cheltenham” Directors Plate Novice Chase to their Naas haul.

Henry de Bromhead’s seven-year-old – who had opened his fences account over course and distance earlier in the term – was sent off the 8-13 favourite and was given a confident ride by Rachael Blackmore.

Allowed to stride on, he was far from stopping at the back of the last and proved his quality to pull out extra in the closing stages – three lengths clear of runner-up Limerick Lace at the winning post.

“It was a good performance, it wasn’t ideal having to make his own running,” said stable representative Robbie Power.

Journey With Me wins at Naas
Journey With Me wins at Naas (PA)

He’s a bit lairy and didn’t jump as well as he can. I think he was doing too much looking around him.

“When the second horse came to him at the second-last he picked up well and I think he’s a horse that will stay further.

“He’ll either go to Fairyhouse for the Grade 1 novice over two and a half miles or he could go to Aintree or Punchestown for a three-mile Grade One. He’s entitled to take his chance in a Grade One.”

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