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  • 15:15 W.T. O'Grady Memorial E.B.F. Novice Hurdle2m 6f

  • €12,000 added 5yo+ 4 ran
  • Winner €8,280 2nd €1,920 3rd €840 4th €480
  • Going: Soft
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Off time: 15:15:27

Clondaw Court kept his unbeaten record intact at Thurles

Last Updated: 16/01/14 4:01pm

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Clondaw Court: Bound for Cheltenham

Clondaw Court: Bound for Cheltenham

Clondaw Court kept his unbeaten record intact with a convincing victory in the W.T. O'Grady Memorial European Breeders Fund Novice Hurdle at Thurles.

The seven-year-old cost £130,000 after winning an Irish point-to-point and made a good impression on his debut for Willie Mullins in a Punchestown bumper in November 2012.

He was sidelined for over a year afterwards and was made to pull out all the stops to score on his hurdling debut at Leopardstown last month, but was still a 4/6 favourite for his latest assignment, stepping up half a mile in trip.

Clondaw Court jumped his hurdles a little big, but his class advantage was clear as he loomed up to challenge Giantofaman for the lead rounding the home turn.

The odds-on shot scooted clear and was kept up to his work by Ruby Walsh on the run-in to score by 18 lengths. Horendus Hulabaloo came through to finish second, with Festive Felon a disappointing last of four.

Mullins said: "He made a mistake at the second hurdle in Leopardstown. Ruby said he was unsighted by a shadow, he landed on the middle of the hurdle and it upset him.

"He was foot-perfect today. He looks like he needs a trip, two miles and six (furlongs) or three miles. I thought he was our bumper horse for Cheltenham last year. He was our pick all of the spring time, but he didn't make it.

"We always thought a huge amount of him and he gave an indication he's back to himself today, so hopefully I can keep him right. He probably won't have a run between now and the Festival and the Albert Bartlett might be the race for him.

"He jumps like a chaser more than a hurdler and that's where his future is."

The winner has a choice of engagements at Cheltenham in March and was introduced at 16/1 for the Albert Bartlett and cut to the same price (from 25s) for the shorter Neptune Investment Novices' Hurdle by Sky Bet who also clipped Faugheen, who runs in the same ownership, to 4/1 for the latter contest.

Spokesman Michael Shinners said: "He wasn't stopping over the 2m 6f in deep ground. The decent pace likely in the Albert Bartlett is sure to suit and he's now looking a lively contender with Willie Mullins indicating that could be his destination."

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