Following a record-breaking Cheltenham Festival for Irish point-to-pointers, the successes have continued back at Prestbury Park with Manofthemountain powering clear to win the Grade 2 Ballymore Silver Trophy Chase, the centrepiece of Cheltenham’s April meeting.
Third on his one and only start in his native Ireland for Sean Doyle at Borris House, the eight-year-old has been lightly-raced so far this term and having shaped well over this trip on the back of a break at Kempton Park last month, he relished the good ground to take the feature race in authoritative fashion.
The drop back to two and a half miles is paying dividends with the gelding and Lavelle revealed that she was happy to have found her gelding’s niche.
She said: “It was a good performance today. We came into it as a fresh horse and there’d be quite a few who’ve had a long enough season, so it’s one of those where I couldn’t be happier with him but some of the others may have had enough for the year. The ground is key to him and I’m quite happy we’ve found his niche.
“I know he’s been running over three miles, but even the day he ran against Frodon here (in October), he travelled away with him and looked to have a chance but just didn’t stay up the hill.
“We’ll see how he is now, there probably isn’t much left to go at this time of year, but we’ll have a look to see what’s out there because he had a lovely winter break. I think he is a horse who likes to be fresh, but he’s clearly got plenty of ability.
“I think the big targets for him would be to come back here in the autumn. Before today we talked about looking at the Summer Plate at Market Rasen, but only time will tell whether we look at things like that now.”
Manofthemountain won in the familiar colours of owner Paul Jacobs, carried by the popular sprinter Limato in recent years.