Boston Bob leaves it late in winning the P.J. Moriarty Chase
Boston Bob gave favourite backers an almighty scare before getting up to win Leopardstown's P.J. Moriarty Novice Chase.
Last Updated: 09/02/13 5:18pm
Willie Mullins' much-hyped eight-year-old appeared to be a well-beaten horse coming off the home turn, but he lacks for nothing in stamina and found reserves at the end of the sapping three-mile Grade 1 test.
He was up with the early pace, set in the main by Lyreen Legend after an early mistake knocked the wind out of Lord Windermere's keen disposition.
His jockey Bryan Cooper tried to nick a couple of lengths on the field coming came out of the back straight, but by the time they leapt the cross fence there were still five of the six runners in with a decent chance.
Boston Bob soon came under strong pressure from Paul Townend and would have appeared to many to be floundering as Texas Jack moved to the front heading towards the final fence.
The 6/4 favourite was still a few lengths back in fourth as they reached the run-in but he produced a powerful finish to join Texas Jack on the line, getting the nod in a photo finish with Lord Windermere and Lyreen Legend less than a length behind at the end of a tight contest.
Boston Bob remains around the 7/1 mark for the RSA Chase at next month's Cheltenham Festival with Sky Bet behind only strong favourite Dynaste.
Mullins said: "The drier ground at Cheltenham will be a huge help and I think he'll improve through the spring and on to Punchestown.
"In my head I was thinking of the Jewson (at Cheltenham) for him but there is four or five weeks to go and certainly if it was soft I wouldn't mind going for the Jewson, but it does look like he wants a longer trip.
"I'm not sure he's yet back to his best form from last year, but he is coming back. He didn't come back in (from the summer) in the same type of form and never worked as well this year - especially when he won here last year; we haven't seen him in that type of form since.
"Hopefully the better ground will make the difference and the way he jumps, he has every chance of being as good over fences."