Willie Mullins’ talented stayer, Boston Bob, came back from an unpromising position at the final fence to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as he finished fast and late to beat Texas Jack by just a nose in a thrilling renewal of the Grade 1 Dr P J Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown on February 9.
Sent off the 6/4 market leader for the two-mile-five-furlong contest, Boston Bob appeared to be perfectly placed under Paul Townend for the majority of the contest, racing close to the pace until looking tapped for toe when the tempo rose approaching the third from home.
In the soft to heavy ground, the leaders began to waiver going to the final fence and Townend, sensing all was not yet lost, conjured a tremendous late effort out of his mount. Bob responded in the most willing of fashions to run on strongly to pip the luckless Texas Jack in the very last stride to score by the minimum distance.
Mullins was quick to suggest that his winner will be better served by a sounder surface and appeared keen to let his Boston Bob take his chance in the Grade 2 Jewson Novices Chase at Cheltenham next month over a similar trip.
However, betting firms were divided on the merit of the win and the suitability of the nominated target, offering a range of odds between 8/1 and 14/1.
It is a similar story for Boston Bob’s alternative, the three-mile Grade 1 RSA Chase, for which the gelded son of Bob Back is again available at widely differing odds, ranging from as short as 4/1 second-favourite, to 7/1.
Clearly a horse who divides opinion, Mullins’ charge must let his racecourse performance do the talking and answer his critics in the best possible fashion at the showcase fixture.