REBEL Gold (149+) and Dunvegan (141) assumed command of the Dan & Joan Moore Chase from as early as the first fence as front runners dominated on the Fairyhouse chase track on Saturday.
Rebel Gold eventually denied Dunvegan a repeat victory in the €47,200 handicap on ground which played to his strengths and blunted the superior speed of Pat Fahy’s course specialist.
The time figure suggests the pair set a good gallop between them, with the final circuit time and closing sectional the quickest on the day.
However, neither were the equal of Flame Bearer (132+) through the early stages of the final circuit.
The reapplication of a tongue strap and the removal of the hood reignited Willie Mullins’ gelding as he enjoyed an unassailable lead throughout the beginners’ chase.
The sparkling aspect of the performance was the ease with which he covered the ground to the fourth last fence on the final circuit; 4.8secs quicker than Rebel Gold.
Jockey Paul Townend allowed the eight-year-old to coast home from the entrance of the home straight so his closing sectional of 87.2secs becomes irrelevant to the analysis despite it still being quick enough to post the same final circuit time as Must Be Obeyed (95+), who stopped the clock for his sectional at 79.3secs.
To complete the analysis of the feature handicap, Denis O’Regan produced Rebel Gold to complete his event in 77.5secs.
Blood Destiny (145+) added his name to the embarrassment of juvenile riches at the disposal of Willie Mullins as he clocked the fastest time of the season in this division in the opening race.
Supporters of the odds-on favourite may well have been anxious when the field closed on the home turn although, as it materialized, Paul Townend was always in control.
The champion jockey must have pressed the accelerator pedal jumping the fourth last as the partnership easily opened up a lead then, following a pause in his finishing effort as he turned for home, the bold jumping chesnut stormed clear to finish his race in 68.5secs without being fully extended.
Admittedly, Whatcouldhavebeen (126) was faster from the third last hurdle as he stopped the clock at 67.5secs, however his time figure when adjusted for distance was inferior as was his final circuit which was 3.4secs slower.
Corbetts Cross (115) posted the slowest time of the day as he readily dismissed his field in the staying handicap hurdle, with his closing sectional of 70.3secs confirming a slow-motion finish.