GBI RACING

Cheltenham on the radar for Opera Hat winner Pravalaguna

Pravalaguna and Paul Townend jump the last fence to win the BBA Ireland Opera Hat Mares Chase at Naas

Pravalaguna gave a bold, front-running display to take Listed honours in the BBA Ireland Limited Opera Hat Mares Chase at Naas.

The 8-13 favourite overcame a scare at the fifth fence from home in the two-mile feature, as she followed up her first victory over fences at Limerick in December.

Jockey Paul Townend appeared to lose an iron briefly, but was back on an even keel before the next obstacle which his partner jumped fluently.

Pravalaguna and Paul Townend on their way to victory at Naas
Pravalaguna and Paul Townend on their way to victory at Naas (PA)

Success never seemed to be in doubt after that and the seven-year-old, trained by Willie Mullins, went on to score by 14 lengths. Baie Des Iles was second, a short head in front of Teacher’s Pet.

Next month’s Cheltenham Festival could now be on the agenda.

“It was a nice performance. The mistake seemed to wake her up and she galloped on away at the end, so she can go two or two-and-a-half (miles). I’d have no trouble going an extra half mile with her again,” said Mullins.

“The Arkle is a possibility. I know the connections would like to have a runner at Cheltenham, no more than myself. She’s also in the JLT, so both are a possibility.

“We didn’t think she would survive her fall in Auteuil (in June 2017). She’s made a great recovery and has won her last couple of races now.”

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