Foxrock grinds it out
Foxrock is the 6/1 favourite with Sky Bet for the National Hunt Chase after determinedly taking Navan's Ten Up Novice Chase.
A Grade Two winner at Naas last month, the Ted Walsh-trained six-year-old was striking again at the same level here, but although he had only half a length in hand of the running-on My Murphy at the winning post, the winning margin probably underestimates his superiority.
For much of the three-mile journey the Barry Connell-owned 4/6 market leader had shared pole position with Clar Na Mionn and Civena, and they jumped nearly every fence in unison in the early stages.
Foxrock made a slight mistake four out but was soon back on an even keel and it was Civena who gave way first.
Clar Na Mionn looked like he might take over coming to the final fence and then in the last strides My Murphy appeared poised to swamp them both before Danny Mullins' mount rallied to hold them both off.
Walsh said: "He did what I thought he might do, he always seems to pull out a little bit.
"He was a bit slow at the last and the other two were quicker than him, but he finds a bit when you give him a dig. He won well at the line.
"Danny thought he had a little bit left, he's a grand horse and is going in the right direction. As long as he stays sound and healthy there are more nice pots to be won with him.
"If he improves over the summer he will be a nice three-miler for next season, they are scarce on the ground.
"He stays, he jumps and he handles soft ground. He's come a long way since he won a point-to-point last October."
Asked about running in the four-miler at Cheltenham, Walsh said: "We'll see how he is in three weeks', that's time enough to make our minds up. That's where Barry would like to go with him."
Sky Bet spokesman Michael Shinners commented: "Ted Walsh wasn't willing to commit after the race, but Foxrock certainly did his National Hunt Chase claims no harm and gives every encouragement that stamina won't prove an issue, even over four miles."