Thedevilscoachman advertises Irish National claims at Limerick

Thedevilscoachman teed himself up for a possible tilt at the Irish Grand National with victory in the Way To Paris @ Coolagown Stud Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase at Limerick.

The JP McManus-owned seven-year-old was bidding for a second successive Grade Three prize for trainer Noel Meade, having been awarded victory by the stewards at Naas in late January after a thrilling tussle with Ramillies.

Denis O’Regan took over in the saddle from the recently retired Bryan Cooper and after stalking recent Gowran Park scorer Grandero Bello into the home straight, 11-8 favourite Thedevilscoachman picked him off on the run-in before pulling two and a half lengths clear.

Paddy Power make the winner their 5-1 favourite from 8-1 for the BoyleSports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, although the Fairyhouse Gold Cup Novice Chase the previous afternoon is a possible alternative.

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The owner’s racing manager, Frank Berry, said: “That was grand and the ground was made for him. It was an ideal race and you couldn’t have it soft enough for him. You couldn’t have asked for better today.

“We’ll see what Noel thinks and how he comes out of the race but we’ll see about the Irish National as if he got really soft ground, it might be a different kettle of fish and he could run in the Fairyhouse Gold Cup.

“Denis let him warm up into it and the further he went, the better he jumped. You could only be happy with him.”

Berry also provided an update on McManus’ retained rider Mark Walsh, who has been out of action since suffering a crashing fall from Corbetts Cross at the Cheltenham Festival last week.

“Mark is in better form this week and hopefully will be back for Easter. It is quite slow but he is getting there,” Berry added.

Gordon Elliott at the Cheltenham Festival last week
Gordon Elliott at the Cheltenham Festival last week (Mike Egerton/PA)

Trainer Gordon Elliott enjoyed a double on the card, with the 13-8 success of Deeply Superficial in the Tote Mares Hurdle supplemented by victory for 4-6 favourite The Yellow Clay in the Listed bumper.

A winner on his debut at Leopardstown three weeks ago, the latter followed up with a two-and-a-half length verdict in the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Champion (Pro/Am) Flat Race under Jamie Codd.

“We thought going to Leopardstown that he could be quite a smart one for next year and he has backed that up today. I don’t know what’s in behind him but all you can do is win,” said Codd.

“I’ll speak with Gordon but he has now probably done enough for this year and we’ll treat him like a good horse for next year.

“Noel and Valerie (Moran, of owners Bective Stud) bred him so it makes it more important for them.”

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