CHOSEN Mate just held on to land a dramatic success in the Grade 2 Paddy Power Onside App Novice Hurdle at Naas.
Hannon came with a flying finish, but the post came just in time for the 9/10 favourite, who hung on by a nose to lift the two-mile prize.
Chosen Mate looked likely to gain a cosy victory when gradually raising the tempo after leading three out, and was a few lengths in front after jumping the last.
However, Hannon came with a wet sail on the outside to give Chosen Mate’s trainer Gordon Elliott and jockey Davy Russell a real scare in the closing stages. Milan Native was three and a half lengths away in third place.
There was a spill at the first flight where the pace-setting Jetez came down, leaving Prince D’Aubrelle in front until the business end of proceedings.
Chosen Mate just repels the late lunge of the talented juvenile hurdler Hannon to take the Grade 2 Novice Hurdle at Naas pic.twitter.com/sfEp2kGh0j— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 24, 2019
Elliott said: “I thought it was another second! He’s a grand, honest horse but Davy said he just does what he has to do when he gets there. The four-year-old (Hannon) was getting a lot of weight.
“The plan is to keep him for Aintree.
“Davy had to change tactics when Puppy (Robbie Power) fell. He wanted to get up and take Paul (Townend) on and not give him a complete freebie.
“A fast-run two miles would suit him better, and you could even step him out to two and a half. He jumped well.”
The John McConnell-trained Hannon, meanwhile, was cut to 25/1 from 40/1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle with Paddy Power.
READ THE FULL NAAS REPORT IN NEXT WEEKEND'S EDITION OF THE IRISH FIELD