Embassy Gardens puts strong case for Cheltenham honours

Embassy Gardens is expected to go on to bigger and better things after claiming an impressive victory in the Grade Three Finlay Ford At Naas Novice Chase.

Willie Mullins used this race as a stepping stone to National Hunt Chase glory at Cheltenham with Stattler a couple of years ago, while several of his other recent victors took the same route without success.

This latest winner was cut from 7-1 to 4-1 favourite with Coral for the three-mile-six-furlong test for amateur riders at Prestbury Park.

Paul Nolan’s Albert Bartlett third Sandor Clegane set the pace for most of the way and was still in front after the penultimate fence.

However, 8-13 favourite Embassy Gardens had jumped beautifully and travelled strongly throughout under Paul Townend before coming through to challenge between the last two obstacles.

Another grand leap at the last put him in front and the eight-year-old galloped on well all the way to the line to put 10 lengths between him and Sandor Clegane.

Mullins said: “That was a really good performance and what I like about this horse is that he really loves jumping. When he sees a fence, he wants to jump it and that’s a huge asset in this game.

“He jumps, he stays and does everything right. He’s learned to settle now and is much easier to ride.

“He looks a natural for staying chasing and he’ll go for one of the staying chases in Cheltenham.”

Regarding runner-up Sandor Clegane, Nolan commented: “He ran well and came up against a good horse. He’ll

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