Johnny Ward reports from Leopardstown
The Grade 1 Ladbrokes Dublin Chase, race two of the Dublin Racing Festival, produced a brilliant winner and a one-two for Willie Mullins as Chacun Pour Soi stamped his class on proceedings to the delight of punters at Leopardstown.
Paul Townend, who had to choose between the winner and Min, punched the air after the line, a measure of relief after Chacun Pour Soi overcame Min by three lengths and three parts, having been sent off the 6/5 favourite. Min was sent off a well-backed 7/4 chance under Robbie Power.
With A Plus Tard a significant non-runner, and Cilaos Emery falling early, it was a race that soon whittled into a match between two horses running in the colours of Susannah Ricci, wife of Rich Ricci. And Chacun Pour Soi took it up around the second-last, stretching on to score readily.
"I thought Min was the horse to beat but Paul, I guess, went with the up and coming horse," Mullins said. "I remember bringing him here to do a gallop with senior horses before and he was doing things that a horse very rarely does. I knew we might have something a bit different.
"It's all systems go now for Cheltenham. He really came on from his run the last day and Paul said he would just go on with things after three out, he was travelling so well."
Bookmakers now make Chacun Pour Soi 5/2 for the Queen Mother Champion Chase on March 11. Min may go for the Ryanair Chase to avoid his promising stablemate.