Journey With Me stays on best in Naas opener
Journey With Me drew clear after the last to land the two and a half mile beginners' chase at Naas for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. Flame Bearer making his first start for Willie Mullins (and his chasing debut after winning twice at Grade 2 level over hurdles for Pat Doyle) attempted to make virtually all, but was closely attended by Journey With Me throughout.
The latter's jumping improved as the race developed and he came through to lead at the second last where Flame Bearer was less than fluent and lost momentum upon touching down.
Journey With Me asserted before the last, but his backers had a scare as he got it all wrong. Blackmore soon had him on an even keel on the run-in, though, and duo went on by 13 lengths at 7/4.
Flame Bearer, the 8/15 favourite, tired on the run-in and was collared for second by 22/1 shot Brides Bill. It was slow-motion stuff for the main protagonists at the business end on the yielding to soft, soft in places ground.
Stable representative Robbie Power said: “They went a good gallop and it took him a while to warm to his jumping after his fall the last day. He’s done plenty of schooling at home. It was great to get a clear round into him and he’s back on track now. It was a good performance.
“He won’t be going back in trip. I’d say two and a half to three miles is his game, but his jumping needs to improve a little bit.