Arvika Ligeonniere was made to pull out all the stops to maintain his unbeaten record over fences in the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown.

Despite being sidelined for over two years with injury, the seven-year-old bolted up on his chasing debut at Punchestown in May and then produced a devastating performance on his return to action in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.

With Paul Townend deputising in the saddle for the otherwise-engaged Ruby Walsh, the 9-10 favourite adopted the front-running tactics that were so successful on his last start, albeit this time not pulling quite so far clear.

He began to wind up the tempo moving down the back straight, but a mistake at the third last gave his closest pursuers Baily Green and Oscars Well a chance,

However, Arvika Ligeonniere was much better at the second last and although he was tiring after the final obstacle, he had enough in reserve to hold off Oscars Well by two and a half lengths.

Winning trainer Willie Mullins said: "He got a bit tired but the ground is heavy.

"He settled well over the first and had a great jump. He jumped the second and third well and then piled on the pace.

"He missed the third last as Paul wanted an easy one and the horse kept going. Because he's so free Paul is not inclined to pull him back and fiddle one.

"Paul said he was idling turning for home - I was wondering whether was he getting tired.

"He's a big strong horse and we'll look forward to the (Irish) Arkle back here in February."


Arvika Ligeonniere'S stablemate Blood Cotil made it two from two on these shores with a victory in the Grade Three Q8 OILS Juvenile Hurdle.

In the absence of Our Conor, Willie Mullins' French import was sent off the 4-9 favourite and although Stocktons Wing made him work slightly harder than those odds would have suggested, he was ultimately in a different class and crossed the line with three lengths in hand.

Ned Buntline (4-5) got off the mark over obstacles at the second attempt, beating Urano by a couple of lengths in a Bookmakers Bar At Bewleys Hotel Leopardstown Maiden Hurdle that should work out well.

Listed bumper winner Anonis made a successful start to his jumping career in the Q8 OILS Maiden Hurdle.

Mags Mullins' 11-4 shot wasn't exactly foot-perfect, but he got the job done in front and saw off The Papararazi Kid, who filled the runner-up berth for the fourth successive occasion.

Colm Murphy produced Shariyan (4-1) at fever pitch to land the Download The Free Racing Post Mobile App. Handicap Hurdle on his first run for the best part of 11 months.

Katie Walsh found herself in the winner's enclosure after steering the consistent Jacksonslady (7-1) to victory in the Racing Post All You Need For Irish Racing Handicap Chase, while 10-1 chance Moyle Park made a victorious start to his career in the Donohue Marquees INH Flat Race.