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JLT Novices' Chase News: Mozoltov makes most of easy opportunity

Willie Mullins could run Mozoltov in the JLT Novices' Chase
Willie Mullins could run Mozoltov in the JLT Novices' Chase

"I think he's in the JLT (Novices' Chase at Cheltenham). We'll see how he comes out of this before we make any plans."

Mozoltov survived a first-fence howler before predictably proving a different class to his two opponents in the Grade 2 Woodlands Park 100 Club Nas Na Riogh Novice Chase at Naas...

An impressive winner on his fencing debut at Fairyhouse in December before running with credit to finish third in the Irish Arkle at Leopardstown, Willie Mullins' charge faced what appeared a straightforward  assignment.

Those who took the long odds-on would have had their hearts in their mouths at the first obstacle as Mozoltov (2-13) got in close, with jockey Bryan Cooper doing well to keep the partnership intact.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding quickly pulled clear of his inferior rivals and although he was far from foot-perfect again at the final fence, it made little difference as he eased to a 35-length victory. Fellow Gigginstown runner Folsom Blue grabbed the runner-up spot, beating Summer Star by a neck.

Mullins said: "I think he's in the JLT (Novices' Chase at Cheltenham). We'll see how he comes out of this before we make any plans.

"He hasn't been making those mistakes before, but I would put that down to him not having company in the race and being out on his own throughout."

There was further JLT news on Sunday as it emerged that the rapidly-improving Off The Ground is set to run.

Trained by Emma Lavelle for the Axom syndicate, the eight-year-old won off 119 at Doncaster in November, returned to win off 133 at Town Moor a few weeks later and has not been seen since. He now finds himself off a mark of 147 which connections felt ruled him realistically out of any of the handicaps.

"Off The Ground will go for the JLT," said Dan Downie, racing manager for Axom.

"His handicap rating suggests that's where he should be running so we'll go down that route. I had a chat with Emma and we decided that he deserved to go."

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