Ryanair Chase (Grade 1)
IT was all as straightforward as the betting suggested it would be as Allaho routed his rivals to make it back-to-back wins in a race and a division that he has made his own over the last couple of seasons.
After their opening race heartbreak, Willie Mullins and Paul Townend bounced back in typically unflappable fashion with a horse who excels at this intermediate trip. Fresh from a smooth warm up for this race at Thurles a couple of months ago Allaho was returned the 4/7 favourite and his rivals never really troubled him.
The Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding took up his habitual position at the head of the field and produced a trademark bold round of jumping.
Eldorado Allen was the one to give chase from early but he couldn’t hold a candle to Townend’s mount in the closing stages.
Allaho cleared the second last with a good lead and, while somewhat untidy at the final fence, he still crossed the line 14 lengths ahead of stablemate Janidil, with Eldorado Allen third. The Irish Gold Cup winner Conflated had stayed on to dispute second only to fall two out, but happily he emerged unscathed.
“Paul was good on the horse and the horse was good. This year people were keeping an eye on him and they weren’t going to give him an easy time out in front but he just showed them he can jump and gallop them into submission,” declared the trainer.
“The horse jumped and galloped for Rachael last year so Paul had huge pressure coming into this and after the first race he had more added pressure. But as I’ve already said Paul Townend is someone better with pressure. When there is someone leaning on his neck he excels and that is what I love about Paul, he doesn’t get flustered and he gets the job done.
“You know me I like to stick to what works so I’d be planning for the Ryanair next year and I wouldn’t be backing him ante-post for any other races yet. I might go back to two miles at Punchestown with him but we will see.”