Major success at Cheltenham, Aintree and Fairyhouse in recent weeks doesn’t seem to have been enough for Robbie Power. He wanted to complete the set by winning at the final major National Hunt Festival of the season at Punchestown. The son of legendary Irish showjumper, Captain Con Power, didn’t have to wait long, as on day one he rode the Colin Tizzard-trained Fox Norton to success in the Boylesports Champion Chase.
Fox Norton backed up his Grade One victory in the Melling Chase at Liverpool as he beat the Willie Mullins-trained favourite Un De Sceaux in the feature race on the opening day.
Tizzard was concerned he might be going to the well once too often as Fox Norton had run at Cheltenham where he was a strong-finishing second in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Those fears proved unfounded, however, as the 5-2 chance went clear on the run-in to beat this year’s Ryanair Chase winner by a length and three-quarters, with last winner’s Boylesports Champion Chase victor, God’s Own, half a length further behind in third position.
The winning trainer was delighted with his success:
“He’s just progressed into a beautiful young horse. Obviously this is his minimum trip, but he was good enough to win this and very nearly win a Champion Chase. This just looked lovely (for him). He did have three months off in the middle of the season when he cut into himself at Cheltenham, so it’s not like he’s been on the go all the time. He’s the one horse we thought we could bring here and he’s shown it all.”
Jockey of the moment, Robbie Power, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Sizing John in the same colours, said: “It’s been an unbelievable season and getting a Grade One at Punchestown as well for Mr and Mrs Potts – it’s fantastic. He was flat to the boards the whole way. I didn’t want to give Un De Sceaux too much rope. Just because of that I was flat out the whole way and he made one or two little mistakes, but once we turned in I knew I would pick him up.”
Robbie Power will hope to continue his winning run of success in today’s Punchestown Gold Cup when he rides the Jessica Harrington-trained Sizing John who aims to add to his Cheltenham win.