Petit Mouchoir, a dual Grade 1 winner over hurdles last season, made a fine start to his chasing career with an effortless victory at Punchestown in the Beginners Chase. Sent off 8/13 favourite, the victory was as comfortable as expected, however, it was still a more than pleasing performance.
The eye-catching grey led from the start under a typically confident Davy Russell, and after a great jump at the first he was typically smooth throughout. Brelade, second in the market at 9/4, is certainly no slouch judged on his novice hurdle form last season (2nd and 3rd in Grade 1 contests), yet he was no match for Petit Mouchoir who coasted to the line under a virtually motionless Russell.
The performance sees Petit Mouchoir head the ante post market for the Arkle, at a best price of 9/1 but as short as 7/1 in places. Given his high class form over hurdles last season, with a fine third in the Champion Hurdle to add to his two Grade 1 victories in Ireland, it’s no surprise to see him at the head of the market.
Given trainer Henry De Bromhead’s has often excelled with improving hurdlers to chasers, it’s going to be interesting to see what other leading novices can thrown down the gauntlet.