Three Stripe Life made an impressive start to life over
fences on a day full of surprises at Naas, writes Paul Martin.
The six-year-old shone as a novice hurdler, winning the Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree and finishing second in three more races of that calibre including the Ballymore at Cheltenham.
Gordon Elliott has now tasked him with the step up and the early signs are promising, Three Stripe Life coming home by 12 lengths in the Mongey Communications Beginners’ Chase with Davy Russell on board.
"We knew he would come on plenty for it as he's plenty big enough,” Elliott said.
“It's a nice starting point and Davy said he had a good blow. The Drinmore is the plan now and he'll go to Fairyhouse."
Elsewhere at Naas, a dramatic Barberstown Castle Poplar Square Chase was eventually won by Jeremys Flame under Luke Dempsey for Gavin Cromwell.
Willie Mullins’ Maghull Novices’ Chase winner Gentleman De Mee set off at 4/7 in the Grade 3 contest but was hampered by the falling Coeur Sublime and rider Mark Walsh was unseated to leave Cromwell’s contender with a simple run for home.
"She's been on the receiving end of some bad luck in her time so I'm glad she has finally won a Graded race,” Cromwell said.
“The plan had been to go to Clonmel but with the heavy ground there we stuck her in here, but we will probably stick to mares' chases. I wouldn't rule out going to Cheltenham."
Gentleman De Mee was not the only returning star to be beaten in a Grade 3, with Elliott’s Fil Dor – a runner-up in Grade 1s at Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown last season – beaten by Padraig Roche’s 15/8 shot Brazil.