Invitation Only lands Punchestown prize
Last Updated: 13/01/18 2:48pm
Invitation Only led his rivals a merry dance in the Total Event Rental (Kildare) Novice Chase at Punchestown.
The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old fell at the fifth fence on his chasing debut at this venue in mid-November, but having bounced back with an impressive victory at Navan last month, he was the 5-4 favourite stepped up to Grade Three level in the hands of the trainer's nephew, David Mullins.
Invitation Only travelled strongly and fenced fluently for the duration of the two-and-a-half-mile contest and had his rivals on the stretch turning for home.
His stablemate Koshari threatened to make a race of it jumping the final fence, but Invitation Only quickened up well on the run-in to score by two and a half lengths.
The winning rider said: "He's got buckets of scope and he's a real galloping jumper.
"I was very impressed with him. He quickened up off the bend and did everything right and he's one to look forward to.
"I couldn't believe at the third-last where he came from. He was as far out at the other side and he's got it all really."
Koshari gave the champion trainer a one-two, with The Storyteller third after making a mistake at the second-last fence.
Invitation Only was cut to as short as 6-1 for the JLT Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.Mullins senior confirmed his charge could now head straight to Prestbury Park. He said: "He was very good and I thought his jumping was very good."I thought he was only idling in front. He's a horse that's starting to show the promise he showed early in his career."It's a nice stepping-stone for him. If he goes to Cheltenham he might go straight there. We were looking at the Dublin Racing Festival but maybe we don't need to go there and he could just go straight to Cheltenham for something there."We'd be looking at a longer trip, I suppose, as he stays and he jumps. He can run in anything."