WICKLOW Brave is set to go on this travels after maintaining his unbeaten record over fences with a relatively hard-fought success in the Cheestrings Novice Chase at Listowel.
Willie Mullins’ 10-year-old is already a Group 1 winner on the flat in the Irish St Leger and a Grade 1 scorer over hurdles in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle.
For a long way the two-mile-one-furlong affair really only involved two, with Rachael Blackmore on Henry de Bromhead’s Jan Maat continually out-jumping the veteran.
Blackmore looked the more confident of the two jockeys as Paul Townend began to row away approaching the second-last, which the 1/2 favourite met slightly wrong.
He was still in it approaching the final fence, however, meeting it on a long stride and eventually wearing down Jan Maat to win by three-quarters of a length.
Mullins said: “Paul said he landed in the middle of the first fence and it upset him for a circuit.
“Then he got jumping well again, but the same fence on the next circuit next time around he made a mistake at, but his bit of class in the end won it for him.
“That’s his last race this side of the Atlantic for a while as we go to Far Hills for the Grand National Hurdle Stakes in October next. Otherwise I’d have gone to Tipperary on October 4th, but it is too close to the American race.
“That’s our plan, the race is two miles and five furlongs and then he’ll come back on home soil for the Drinmore (Chase, Grade 1 in November).”