Abacadabras shows magic turn of pace
Abacadabras got back on the winning trail with an ultimately comprehensive success in the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown yesterday.
Gordon Elliott's charge was sent off the 10-11 favourite and despite not always convincing in the jumping department, he eventually mastered outsider Heaven Help Us to seal an eight-length victory under Jack Kennedy.
Blue Sari, runner-up to Envoi Allen in last season's Champion Bumper, was bitterly disappointing.
"He's got a bit of pace and we rode him for it," said Elliott. "I'd say the hurdle flicked back at him going down the back (straight), but he's professional enough and I'm happy with him.
"He'll probably come back here in February. I'd say a bit better ground would suit him as he doesn't bend his knee too much and just flicks across the top of the ground."
In the other Grade One on the card, A Plus Tard inflicted a surprise defeat on Chacun Pour Soi in the Paddy's Rewards Club "Loyalty's Dead, Live For Rewards" Chase.
With his stable companions Cadmium and Great Field ensuring a strong gallop in front, Chacun Pour Soi travelled kindly in behind under Paul Townend and moved ominously to the lead after jumping the second fence from home.
However, Rachael Blackmore covered the move aboard the Henry de Bromhead-trained A Plus Tard, and with little to choose between the pair jumping the final obstacle, A Plus Tard (4-1) finished the stronger and passed the post almost four lengths to the good.
Dual Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon opened his account over fences with a battling display in the Paddy Power "Live Stream All Irish Racing On Our App" Beginners Chase - and jumped well in the lead for much of the way.
With Martin Brassil's Cheltenham hero City Island making a catalogue of errors during a disappointing display, Gallant John Joe emerged as Melon's biggest threat, but the market leader knuckled down well after a final fence error to score by two and a quarter lengths.
Elliott and Kennedy doubled up with Roaring Bull in a pulsating renewal of the €200,000 euro Paddy Power Chase.
There were several fallers during an incident-packed race, but there were still plenty in with chances rounding the home turn.
Fitzhenry (6-1) looked set to deliver for favourite-backers after fighting his way to the front from the final fence, but 16-1 shot Roaring Bull finished with a flourish to get up in the dying strides.
"I feel sorry for Paul Nolan (trainer of Fitzhenry), who is a very good friend of mine. I was watching the race out on the track with Paul and I was cheering his horse on because I thought I was gone," said Elliott.