BARBURY Castle trainer Alan King’s Balder Succes claimed a creditable third place at the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown yesterday.
The second-favourite behind Willie Mullins’ Champagne Fever made a late charge under the ride of Swindon’s Wayne Hutchinson but it was Barry Geraghty riding 25-1 shot God’s Own who shocked the field to grab victory.
The two-mile Grade One appeared a good opportunity for Arkle Trophy runner-up Champagne Fever to regain winning ways for Mullins and Ruby Walsh and the 5-4 favourite was soon bowling along towards the head of affairs.
However, he was never allowed to dictate matters, firstly being pressed by Arnaud until King’s Aintree winner Balder Succes ranged up to challenge leaving the back straight.
The big two swung for home ready to fight it out, but first Champagne Fever dropped away and then outsiders God’s Own and Moscow Mannon began to bridge the gap.
Balder Succes did his best to fend them off, but having benefited from more patient rides, that pair went to the front after the final fence and it was God’s Own who got the better of 20-1 chance Moscow Mannon by half a length.
Balder Succes ran with plenty of credit in third, but Champagne Fever was ultimately disappointing.