Faugheen
Image supplied by Punchestown Racecourse; copyright Alain Barr

Faugheen survived two juddering mistakes to win over fences in the Naas Oil Beginners Chase at Punchestown.

This often informative 2 ½ mile contest featured the chasing debut of former Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen, one of 17 runners.

From the off, Paul Townend had Faugheen up with the pace and out of trouble, while Trappist Monk fell at the first and compromised the chance of Berkerys Enigma.

Meanwhile, Faugheen comfortably negotiated the first two fences and took the remainder into the home straight, with Dommage Pour Toi and Lord Schnitzel next.

With a circuit to race, Faugheen led Lord Schnitzel and Dommage Pour Toi, but the pace was not strong.

However, at the first ditch, Faugheen made a dreadful blunder and Townend worked wonders to keep the partnership intact, dropping back to third.

Lord Schnitzel was left in front, with Faugheen working his way back in contention, further back Best Behavior fell. Faugheen pecked badly on landing once again and Townend sat quietly on him to the inside.

Leaving the back, Lord Schnitzel was taken on by Midnight Stroll and this pair led over four out, tracked by Faugheen and Walk Away.

Lord Schnitzel turned for home ahead of Walk Away and Midnight Stroll, with Faugheen to the inside and then the improving Cracking Smart.

Racing to the last, Walk Away went on, but Faugheen rallied well and led at the final fence, leaping well and clearing away with consummate class, for a wide-margin win.

Walk Away kept on for second, ahead of Lord Schnitzel.

This was far from fluent but Faugheen’s engine kept him in contention and saw him home.