Allegorie De Vassy strengthened her position as ante-post favourite for the mares’ chase at the Cheltenham festival with a bloodless victory at Limerick on Wednesday.
A dual winner over hurdles at Fairyhouse last season after joining Willie Mullins from France, the five-year-old was a 1-2 favourite to make a successful switch to fences in the Grade Two McMahons Builders Providers Irish EBF Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase.
Ridden by Seán O’Keeffe on her first competitive appearance in 333 days, Allegorie De Vassy was sent straight to the lead and was particularly impressive in the jumping department for much of the race.
Malina Girl gave vain chase in the straight and the leader was a little clumsy at the final two obstacles, but was ultimately in a league of her own as she passed the post with 19 lengths in hand.
O’Keeffe said: “I’m very happy with her and she is very enthusiastic about her job. She winged the first two fences, loves to get on with it, so I said I’d let her go along in front. I was trying to slow her down all the time really.
“She has a very big jump in her, has loads of scope and is a big mare. She was brave at the second-last but will have learned a bit jumping the last two fences and that will stand to her the next day. She put in a good round of jumping other than that.
“There is a nice engine there and hopefully [she] can continue progressing over fences.”
Allegorie De Vassy is the 9-4 market leader with Paddy Power to provide Mullins with a third successive win in the mares’ chase at Prestbury Park following the previous triumphs of Colreevy and Elimay.
Joe Chambers, racing manager for owners Rich and Susannah Ricci, said: “She was good, didn’t learn much going around so I’d say the last two mistakes were handy and will stand to her.
“Seán was delighted, he won two on her last year and is more familiar with her than Paul [Townend]. He thinks she has a lot of natural ability and it is good to get her going.
“If she is half as good as the other mare [Benie Des Dieux] we brought down here in the past, we’d be fairly happy!”
Regarding Cheltenham plans, he added: “It is not all about the destination, the journey getting there is every bit as important as well and we’ll try to pick up a few other races first.
“There are other races for her in Thurles and Clonmel, but we’ll let Willie decide that.”