Rebel wins well at Galway
Rebel Fitz continued his fencing education with an impressive success in the Deacy Gilligan Novice Chase at Galway.
The Michael Winters-trained eight-year-old was high class over timber, with his efforts including victory in the Galway Hurdle, and he has now won his last four starts since switching to the larger obstacles.
Content to track leader Lord Ben for much of the two-mile-one-furlong journey, Barry Geraghty's mount took control over the final two fences, where his jumping was very slick, and the result was in no doubt thereafter.
Geraghty could afford a look behind on the 4/9 favourite before cruising to an eighth-and-a-half-length beating of Saint Gervais.
Winters said: "Barry said 'He's some lepper'. He asked him over the final four fences to ensure that he wouldn't get outpaced.
"He might want further, and may be more of a stayer.
"He thrives on his racing and was as ready as we could have him today, but if he turned up again next week I'd say he could be better again.
"He collects every day and there is a possibility he might be slightly better going right-handed. Having said that, the plan is to go to Cheltenham in October or November.
"There is a low-grade novice chase in October, and he's more likely to go for that before the ground turns heavy. He'll have his three months off then."
Willie Mullins already houses star mares such as Quevega and Annie Power, and could have another top-notch filly on his hands in Vicky De L'Oasis judged on her Irish bow in the Anglo Printers Maiden Hurdle.
The French import travelled strongly throughout under Ruby Walsh, heading market rival Knightsone before the final flight and quickly putting the race to bed to score by an effortless nine lengths as the 11/8 favourite.
Mullins said: "She came with a nice reputation from France last November but disappointed when we brought her home. We decided to put her away and she's been far better since.
"She looks all right now on her homework and will stay on the novice hurdle route.
"Her form is on soft ground in France but she has been showing us plenty on faster ground at home."
Walsh immediately doubled up on Rossvoss (11/4) in the J.J. Rhatigan & Company Maiden Hurdle for his father, Ted, but was denied a treble as the Geraghty-ridden Que Pasa (4/1) readily beat Indevan in the Easyfix Rubber Products Novice Hurdle.
Trainer Harry Kelly said of the latter: "We'll look at the Grade Three mares' novice in Down Royal and there is also the Grade Three novice at Tipperary. Then she'll get a break.
"We'll take it one step at a time, but she may come back for Cheltenham in March. Barry was quite impressed with her."
Former top amateur Mikey Fogarty, 23, could not have wished for a better start to life as a professional as the Ger Lynch-trained Paudi The Punter (20/1) gave him a winner on his first ride since joining the paid ranks in the O'Leary Insurances Handicap Hurdle.
Lynch said: "He jumped great today, and Mikey gave him a lovely ride. He's been lucky for me, and rode Letter Of Credit in the past."