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|Garde on target on chasing bow|
Willie Mullins, who earlier in the afternoon had sent out the promising novice chaser Blackstairmountain to win in style over the minimum trip, saw his Allee Garde repeat the dose with a pleasing first effort over fences when justifying even money favouritism to score by two-lengths in the Kilsheelan Beginners' Chase at Clonmel, writes Elliot Slater.
Last seen on racecourse duty when finishing fourth to the useful Askanna in the Grade 2 Irish Daily Mirror Novice hurdle at Punchestown in May having scored at Gowran Park a few weeks earlier, Mullins' French bred gelding had run a respectable race at the Cheltenham Festival last March when finishing ninth of the 18-runner field behind Bobs Worth in the three-mile Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle. People with an online Cheltenham free bet will have been keeping an eye on his progress.
Always regarded by connections as a potentially decent staying novice chaser, Allee Garde took up the running at the fourth at Clonmel and never looked in any serious danger thereafter, travelling well under Ruby Walsh before finding extra when main market rival Son Amix loomed up as a possible danger under Paul Carberry approaching the second from home. Pushed out by Walsh from the final fence the son of Kapgarde crossed the line two-lengths clear of Son Amix, the pair having drawn some 27-lengths clear of the remainder in a race that will probably work out well.
Mullins immediately suggested that his winner is all about stamina and that he will be looking to campaign him in decent staying novice chases for the rest of the term, a hint that maybe the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March could possibly on the agenda if Allee Garde continues to go the right way. Most firms have yet to quote his bright prospect but he was supported on the exchanges immediately after his Clonmel win suggesting that it is only a matter of time before he appears at respectable odds in the ante-post list for the 'novices Gold Cup'.