Frank Ward Solicitors Irish Arkle Novice Chase
BETDAQ
Grade 1, Leopardstown 14:20
Race Value: €100,000
5yo plus,
2m 1f, Class 1  
Saturday 3rd February 2018

1 Footpad 4/9F
2 Petit Mouchoir 3/1
3 Any Second Now 8/1
5 ran Distances: 5l, 19l, 22l
Time: 4m 13.90s (slow by 7.90s)

Footpad made every yard of the running to win impressively

Footpad
© Caroline Norris
Footpad

Paul Townend was positive from flag-fall aboard Footpad and only main market rival Petit Mouchoir opted to go with him, as he set a strong pace up front in the two-mile-one-furlong Grade One contest.

Petit Mouchoir, who was returning from 108 days off the track, was noticeably on his toes before the race and clattered the second fence before eventually settling on Footpad's heels as the other three runners toiled some way behind.

With two to jump, Townend turned up the pace on Footpad and while he clipped the final obstacle, the Willie Mullins-trained victor never looked in danger as Petit Mouchoir ploughed on for second with Any Second Now third.

Mullins admitted it had not been the plan to make all, but felt his charge had posted a fine effort.

He said: "He did it the hard way and jumped well in front. I think he pecked a bit at the last, but it was a very good performance.

"We didn't set out to make it, but Paul wasn't happy there was enough pace so he went on.

"We are heading for the Arkle unless something else changes."

He added: "Footpad was fourth in a Champion Hurdle, but we thought he would be going two and a half miles or more over fences. The first day he jumped he was very good and when you can jump, you can go any trip."

Townend said: "We didn't hang around and kept it up. He jumped super and came up for me at the last when he was very long and got to the other side. He jumps like a stag, you'd swear he's (been) jumping fences all his life. It was a great thrill riding him, he was deadly!

"I thought it was a really good performance and he did it the hard way, making all his own running."

Mullins also saddled Demi Sang, who crashed into the first fence and eventually came home last of the four finishers.

He said: "Demi Sang made a hash of the first fence and lost his confidence a bit, so David (Mullins) tried to get him back jumping and he did.

"It would be hard to see him competing at Grade One level over two miles, so he'll probably have to drop down a grade or go out in trip. I would prefer to go out in trip, but we'll have a word with Frank (Berry) and JP (McManus) and see what they want to do."

Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase
(Grade 1) 2m 1f, Race Value: €100,000
5 ran
Going: Soft, Yielding in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Footpad (FR) 4/9f P Townend
11-10
W P Mullins 6
2nd 5 Petit Mouchoir (FR) 3/1 D N Russell
11-10
H de Bromhead 7
3rd 19 Any Second Now (IRE) 8/1 M P Walsh
11-10
T M Walsh 6
4th 22 Demi Sang (FR) 16/1 D J Mullins
11-5
W P Mullins 5
F Tycoon Prince (IRE) 28/1 J W Kennedy
11-10
G Elliott 8