Voler la Vedette who has finished third and fourth to Hurricane Fly on her two previous outings; won the Grade Two Boyne Hurdle at Navan with ease. It was the mares first attempt at 2mile 5f. Trainer Colm Murphy had felt she was outpaced in the 2 mile Irish Champion Hurdle three weeks ago. Settled in mid division and going well for most of the race, she drew level with eventual second Rigour Back Bob on the approach to two out and went on to jump the last two hurdles in great style. Voler la Vedette finished 3rd to Quevega over 2m4f in the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival. Reports suggest that she will bypass Cheltenham this year but could appear at Aintree or Punchestown.
Saludos continued the good form of Robbie Power and Jessie Harrington by winning the Grade Two Flyingbolt Chase. The horse deserved this success after an unlucky fall at the last when in with every chance at Leopardstown at Christmas; then it appeared he had burst a blood vessel after putting in a lacklustre effort back at Leopardstown last month in the Arkle Novice Chase. Saludos is becoming a Navan specialist with today’s victory being his third at the track. Paul Carberry and Montan mounted a challenge two out and finished second ahead of Torphichen who had made a mistake four out. Saludos holds no entries at the Festival; Montan holds an entry in the RSA Chase and Torphichen is entered in the Arkle and The Jewson.
Quito De La Roque completed a double for trainer Colm Murphy in winning the Ten Up Novice Chase, Grade Two. The even money favourite put in an impeccable round of jumping and pulled effortlessly clear to score by four lengths from Royal De La Thinte after long time leader The Hurl had become very tired as they turned into the home straight. Quito De La Roque is engaged in the National Hunt Chase and The RSA Chase at the Festival for which he is now 10/1 and 14/1 respectively.
Cathryn Fry, 13 February 2011