Goffs Irish Arkle Novice Chase: El Fabiolo 2/1 for Cheltenham after Leopardstown demolition | Racing News

Daryl Jacob gave El Fabiolo a perfect ride to win the Goffs Irish Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown for Willie Mullins.

Mullins held an enviable hand in the race with Appreciate It, Dysart Dynamo, Flame Bearer and Saint Roi giving the champion trainer a stranglehold on the Grade One.

The Mullins camp all seemed to side with Appreciate It, with Paul Townend making him his selection after two faultless victories over fences.

But the nine-year-old, who has missed so much time with various injuries, found younger legs too much to handle in a contest that was run at a ferocious pace.

That was set by Danny Mullins on Dysart Dynamo and after only four fences good horses like Fil Dor and Visionarian were a long way behind.

El Fabiolo (9-2) did make a bad mistake three from home, but Jacob allowed him time to get back into his rhythm and by the second-last, he was in pole position.

As he began to pull away, Joseph O’Brien’s Banbridge began to stay on strongly and he eventually got by Appreciate It and Dysart Dynamo to finish second, but some 10 lengths away.

The Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned winner went down narrowly to Jonbon over hurdles at Aintree last season and those two now dominate the betting for the Arkle at Cheltenham next month, with Betfair making Jonbon their 13-8 favourite ahead of El Fabiolo at 2-1 (from 7s).

“He’s just improving all the time. At the start of the year we were thinking maybe we should go out to two and a half (miles), but what he did at Christmas and again today it’s definitely the Arkle,” said Mullins.

“You could see every horse had a chance at different stages of the race. The one negative (was) when we made the mistake, but Daryl blamed himself for that, he said it wasn’t the horse’s fault.

“Then he came back on the bridle again and I thought ‘this horse is travelling’ and he just did everything right.

“Some very good horses were second, third and fourth so to win 10 lengths in that type of a race, he goes to Cheltenham with a real good chance.”

On the owners, he added: “They both (Munir and Souede) have a great appetite for the game and enjoy it. They both travelled a long way to be here at the Dublin Racing Festival this weekend so it’s fantastic that they’ve had a Grade One winner.”

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