IMPERVIOUS (164+) delivered a career best time figure in the Grade 3 Madigan Group Novice Chase at Punchestown as she won on her first outing in the green and gold hoops of J.P. McManus.
The pace was strong from the outset as Ha D’or set off in front, an approach which brought him success on debut at Fairyhouse.
However, unlike on that occasion there was pressure on the lead with Minella Crooner and Journey With Me (164), who eventually took up the running, in close attendance.
A comparison to Royal Thief (116), who clocked the second-best time over fences on the day, illustrates the extent of the gallop.
From the first fence the two winners jumped together, Impervious needed to cover the circuit to the same fence 10secs or 50 lengths quicker than Henry de Bromhead’s handicap winner just to keep tabs on the front runners.
Colm Murphy’s mare was unflustered by the strong gallop, travelling comfortably and jumped with precision as jockey Brian Hayes encouraged the seven-year-old to close steadily before asking for maximum effort on the approach to the final fence.
In similar style to Cork, his mount produced a pinpoint accurate leap off a long stride to gain the momentum required to secure the half-length winning margin.
There was no relenting in the pace as the Shantou mare added the fastest closing sectional to her collection, covering the ground from the fourth last fence in 61.1secs.
Salmanino (100+) was next quickest, stopping the clock at 65.3secs while Royal Thief could only manage a finishing effort of 67.6secs following his early exertions.
As the closing sectionals indicate, the comparison gap grew between the Grade 2 and the other chases on the card, with the eventual difference stretching out to a staggering 17.0secs, which equates to a furlong in the conditions.
The confidence gained from victory at Naas looks to have rejuvenated Journey With Me, who looked on a downward trajectory on the clock after a promising novice hurdle campaign.
An entry at the Dublin Racing Festival may be tempting for connections with the Turners Chase the most likely destination at Cheltenham. A repeat of this performance would see the seven-year-old enter calculations for both races.
Impaire Et Passe (130+) was an impressive winner of the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle, with his closing sectional promising further improvement on the clock.
Willie Mullins’ gelding jump well throughout before looming onto the quarters of front runner Shecouldbeanything and quickening clear in the home straight.
The five-year-old covered the ground from the third last flight in 57.5secs, which was at least 2.9secs quicker (or 14 to 15 lengths) than any other hurdle winner on the card.
The Munir & Souede-owned gelding will need to improve on this time figure to be competitive in his designated race at Cheltenham, but that is entirely possible as the final circuit difference was quickest by 5.4secs which illustrate it was only the formative stages of the race that were slowly run.
Tactical Move (116+) made light of his absence from the track to post the closest final circuit to the Grade 2 winner, although his closing sectional was 0.6secs slower than Sa Fureur (118) whose quicker overall race time would suggest both races were run at a stop-start gallop.
To complete the data the heavily eased Birdie Blitz (103+), who was the slowest on the day when adjusted for distance, covered her closing sectional in 66.1secs.