The Grade 1 Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown sponsored by Frank Ward Solicitors produced a pulsating finish with Realt Dubh (IRE) just getting the better of Noble Prince to win by a short head. It was the second Grade 1 win in a row for the Noel Meade trained gelding and he will now be aimed at the Arkle at Cheltenham. Realt Dubh won a point to point at Dromoland for Vinnie Keane as a 4yo and the son of Beneficial seems best suited to a strongly run two miles. He was bred by R Hartigan and is out of the Exit To Nowhere mare Suez Canal.
Trainer John ‘Shark’ Hanlon was very confident beforehand of Hidden Cyclone’s (IRE) chance in the Grade 2 Synergy Solutions Novice Hurdle and the imposing son of Stowaway did not disappoint winning readily from Ballyhaunis. The Annette Mee owned winner was third in a Grade 1 on his previous start and he took the extra half mile in his stride much to the delight of the winning trainer who commented; “I think he’ll be a top class chaser. It was great the way he did it. I thought we’d have a lead to the last but Andrew (McNamara) was very clever by going on and giving him his head. His jumping isn’t all there yet but we’ll get that right. If he got cut in the ground at Cheltenham I wouldn’t mind going.” Hidden Cyclone was bought by his trainer at Tattersalls Ireland’s Derby Sale for €21,000. He was bred by Ronald O’Neill who also stands his sire Stowaway at his Whytemount Stud in Kilkenny. The winning trainer, breeder and stallion went on to complete a double when Mart Lane (IRE) won the concluding bumper. The winner is a full brother to the very smart but ill-fated Western Leader and looks a nice prospect for owner Barry Connell.