Blue Lord 'looks like he could be a Champion Chase horse', says Willie Mullins

Blue Lord emerged as a potential threat to Queen Mother Champion Chase-winning stablemate Energumene following an impressive success in the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase at Leopardstown.

The seven-year-old was in the top rank of novice chasers last season for Willie Mullins, with Grade One wins at Leopardstown and Punchestown sandwiching a third place in the Arkle at Cheltenham.

Having made a successful reappearance in last month's Clonmel Oil Chase, Blue Lord dropped in trip and stepped up in class for this Grade One contest and was the 2-1 second-favourite behind his top-class stablemate and multiple Leopardstown winner Chacun Pour Soi.

The two-mile-one-furlong contest was run at such a pace that Chacun Pour Soi, who will officially turn in 11 in a few days, appeared to be struggling to go the gallop.

He managed to get himself into contention approaching the second fence from home, but a bad mistake put him on the back foot once more and he ultimately had to make do with minor honours in third.

Blue Lord on the other hand travelled strongly throughout under Daryl Jacob and after battling his way to the front early in the home straight, he powered 11 lengths clear of Captain Guinness.

Coral reacted by trimming his Champion Chase odds to 10-1 from 20-1, with Energumene the 4-5 favourite, while he is 6-1 from 12s for the longer Ryanair Chase.

Mullins said: "That was very smart, I thought they'd go too fast for him here and they did go fast.

"I was looking at two and a half miles for him this year, but it looks like he could be a Champion Chase horse after that performance. Certainly the dial is coming back to two miles now rather than going out to two and a half. It just means he's improving.

"I haven't thought about where he goes but I'm sure there is a programme there for those two-mile horses."

Of Chacun Pour Soi, he added: "I was absolutely delighted with him - he started to put in some tremendous jumps down the back.

"He just met the second-last all wrong and it knocked him out of the race at a crucial time, but I was very heartened by his performance.

"Maybe he just needs to go out a bit longer in trip at his age. Paul was very pleased with how he was going, but he made the mistake and it cost him whatever chance he had."

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