The Enda Bolger-trained Josies Orders was yesterday halved in price for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham after Nina Carberry once again guided the seven-year-old to success over the course.
A winner on debut over the course last month when Carberry was at her very best, she again excelled yesterday on the 11/4 shot who was cut from 7/1 into 7/2 for the main event in March.
With last month's race being run as a handicap, Josies Orders looked entitled to run a big race but with him meeting a number of his rivals yesterday on much worse terms it looked a much stiffer task, but once again Bolger and Carberry showed their expertise in such events and after creeping around in the rear of mid-division, when Josies Orders came with a challenge, it was a decisive one and he held Sire Collonges by two-lengths.
A delighted Carberry commented: "I just let him do his thing, he's really starting to enjoy it now. He was looking for the next turn and the next fence. He always keeps a little bit for himself but stuck it out well." Bolger has been renowned for his handling of horses like Spot Thedifference and Garde Champetre who developed into cross country experts and the trainer is hopeful that Josies Orders can follow a similar path.
"Nina knows the track so well, she took her time and I think he's a pretty good horse. He's ony seven so hopefully we can keep coming back," said the Limerick trainer.
Meanwhile, looking ahead to the weekend and two of the three Irish meetings will have to survive precautionary inspections.
Officials will take a look at Tramore at 8.30am this morning to determine if today's seven-race card can go ahead, while tomorrow, the rescheudled Cork meeting featuring the Grade Two Hilly Way Chase will be subject to an 8am inspection owing to the unfavourable weather forecast.
There will be a first taste of Irish action for French champion jockey Jacques Ricou who will have his first rides in Ireland since arriving here earlier in the week for a winter stint.
Ricou, who has rode a winner for Willie Mullins in France this year, is set to be based mainly with the champion trainer and he supplies the rider with Stone Hard in the Grade Two Navan Novice Hurdle, while Ricou will also ride for Gordon Elliott in the opening maiden hurdle.
That maiden hurdle looks an extremely strong renewal and is certainly one not to miss despite the early start time of 12pm.
Three dual bumper winners Anibale Fly, Balko Des Flos and Exactoris take on promising looking Call It Magic, Mental Strength and Sizinguptheamazon in a real intriguing looking contest.