The highly regarded Trafford Lad, trained by Dusty Sheehy in Ireland, suffered a setback as Casey Jones just edged him out in a close run thing in the Knight Frank Novice Chase at Leopardstown December Festival.
Trafford Lad was sent off 11-10 favourite and he was looking every bit the winner under Tom Doyle as he turned for home in the Grade One event. As the early leaders began to falter, it looked certain that Trafford lad would go clear and maintain his unbeaten record over fences.
However, 25-1 outsider Casey Jones answered Paul Carberry's urgings on the run-in, prevailing by half a length at the finish. The win has earned Casey Jones a quote from VC bet of 20/1 for the Royal Sun Alliance Chase at the Festival in March, while Trafford Lad has drifted from 10s to 14s. Its possible that Trafford Lad hit the front too early, but the fact that he clearly got the three miles pleased connections and further improvement can be made.
Favourite for the RSA is the Paul Nicholls trained Breedsbreeze, who looked very impressive when winning the Nigel Feltham Novices Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Breedsbreeze simply outstayed his rivals although he lacked some fluency in his jumping. That said he won and he won well, maintaining his unbeaten record over fences in the process. He is now favourite around the 10/1 mark for the RSA.