Lamarckise is set to head straight for the Cheltenham Festival after being made to work hard for victory on her belated Irish debut at Limerick.
The Willie Mullins-trained mare has always had a tall reputation – and was already prominent in ante-post lists for the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Prestbury Park in March.
Making her first competitive appearance since finishing third at Auteuil in the spring of 2018, the chestnut daughter of Martaline was the 2-5 favourite for division one of the Book Online At www.limerickraces.ie Mares Maiden Hurdle, but made her supporters sweat before eventually getting the job done.
Lamarckise travelled strongly and jumped fluently for much of the two-mile-five-furlong contest, but tired in the home straight and passed the post just half a length clear of runner-up Miss Pernickety.
Paul Townend dismounted before returning to the winner’s enclosure, but Mullins reported his charge to be none the worse for her exertions.
“Paul said she was just exhausted, that was it,” said the champion trainer.
“He said she blew up two or three times and her class got her through. If I can keep her right, I think she is a very good mare and she’ll go straight for the mares’ novice hurdle at Cheltenham now – I’ll have to get her a bit fitter than that, though.
“She is a fantastic jumper, but I’ve just had training problems with her. I treated her very, very gently and hoped and crossed my fingers that we had enough done today.”
Lamarckise is a best-priced 8-1 for her Cheltenham Festival target with William Hill.