Unexcepted put up a sparkling round of jumping to win the Cashel Beginners Chase at Tipperary – in which odds-on favourite Captain Guinness was pulled up at halfway.
Henry de Bromhead’s Captain Guinness was expected to take high rank among this season’s novice chasers, given how well he was running in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in March before he was unfortunately brought down.
Rachael Blackmore set out to make all on the favourite. But after an awkward jump, they conceded the lead to Willie Mullins’ Unexcepted – and Blackmore soon realised all was not well and pulled him up.
That is to take nothing away from the 7-2 winner, though, who was virtually foot perfect throughout for Mark Walsh en route to an eight-length success from Entoucas.
A hurdles winner on his Irish debut last season from the smart Jason The Militant, he was then beaten at odds-on at Limerick and pulled up early in a big handicap in February – but he is clearly over whatever was ailing him that day.
Betway were impressed and gave the winner a 14-1 quote for the Arkle in March, while Betfair are offering 20-1.
“He jumped brilliant and he was out-jumping Rachael (Blackmore), and I was taking him back over the first four fences,” said Walsh.
“After that I said ‘this lad is winging’ – so I just let him go, and he loved it. He was very quick over his fences and makes lengths at them, so you’d have to be delighted with that.
“He is a half-brother to (Grade One-winning chaser) Great Field, so hopefully he’ll go the same way and win a few of those good races.”
Blackmore reported to the stewards that Captain Guinness returned “unsound behind”.