Aupcharlie sets standard in Woodlands
Updated: Friday, 18 Jan 2013 14:02
Willie Mullins believes a reproduction of Aupcharlie's run at Leopardstown last month will make him difficult to beat in the Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice chase at Naas.
An impressive winner on his chasing debut at Gowran Park in late November, the seven-year-old took a step up to Grade One level in his stride when only narrowly denied by stable companion Back In Focus in the Topaz Novice Chase.
While the champion trainer suggested afterwards the bold-jumping gelding could come back in trip for his next start, he remains over three miles for Saturday's Grade Two.
"On his run at Christmas, if he can jump the way he jumped there, this is a nice type of race for him," said the champion trainer.
"I'm happy enough to stick to three miles with him."
Tofino Bay was almost 27 lengths behind Aupcharlie at Leopardstown, but trainer Dessie Hughes is happy to take him on again in what are likely to be more testing conditions this weekend.
"The ground will make the difference I'd say, hopefully. It's going to be totally different to what they ran on in Leopardstown," said Hughes.
"We had him in the Thyestes, but he won't run in that now. He's running tomorrow instead.
"He's in very good shape and we're hoping for the best."
Jim Culloty's Lord Windermere has done little wrong over fences, chasing home Dylan Ross and Mikael D'Haguenet before making it third-time lucky at Leopardstown.
Tom Doyle has been ever-present in the saddle during the seven-year-old's nine-race career and is looking forward to partnering him over this longer trip for the first time.
"He's stepping up to three miles for the first time and he's always looked like that's what he needed," said Doyle.
"Obviously Aupcharlie is one of the leading staying novices around, and there is Tofino Bay as well, but we're hoping our lad can find a bit of improvement with the step up in trip.
"He's won on heavy ground and has form in testing conditions, so that shouldn't be a problem for him."
Colourful Monaghan trainer Oliver Brady runs Flamenco Prince, Shabra Charity and One Cool Shabra, while Noel Meade's Texas Jack completes the seven-runner field.