Irish Arkle Novice Chase
Grade 1, Leopardstown 14:25
€150,000 guaranteed
5yo plus,
2m 1f, Class 1  
Saturday 3rd February 2024


1 Il Etait Temps 6/1
2 Found A Fifty 10/1
3 Facile Vega 4/1
6 ran Distances: nk, 3l, 4½l
Time: 4m 20.30s (slow by 14.30s)

Danny Mullins achieved a significant victory with Il Etait Temps for trainer Willie Mullins at Leopardstown.

Marine Nationale, an unbeaten contender from Barry Connell's stable, disappointed by finishing fifth.

Found A Fifty, under the guidance of Gordon Elliott, set a brisk pace from the start, closely followed by Facile Vega. Marine Nationale, the 4-7 favorite, initially held third position, but his jumping performance was not as assured as on his debut. Il Etait Temps seized the opportunity to move past Marine Nationale down the back straight.

Although Marine Nationale briefly threatened to make a comeback as the field turned in, a crucial mistake at the last obstacle dashed any hopes of victory. Found A Fifty appeared to have the race under control, but Il Etait Temps displayed resilience, ultimately winning by a neck.

Trainers Quotes

“Danny is just on fire today,” said Mullins.

“This horse is improving, his jumping is improving and he’s settling as well. He didn’t have much respect for hurdles, but he has far more respect for fences and that’s bringing out improvement in him.

“It just shows you that chasers come in all shapes and sizes, he’s not the biggest horse in the world. He’s obviously very effective over this trip and we’ll look forward to the Arkle in Cheltenham.

“He showed plenty of resolution and Danny just timed his run well.

“Facile Vega will probably stay at that trip as well. I was very happy with him, even though he got beaten. I saw a lot in the race to say that he’s coming along and improving as well.”

The jubilant winning rider said: “I think my mum cooked me eggs for breakfast and I’ll definitely be back tomorrow!

“That was a good performance, on known form I thought I’d be in the mix but he’s definitely improving.

“I don’t think the others bombed out, they ran their races and he was just better than them.”

Arkle Novice Chase
(Grade 1) 2m 1f, €150,000 guaranteed
6 ran
Going: Yielding to Soft, Yielding in places

1    Il Etait Temps 6 11-12 W P Mullins Danny Mullins 6/1
nk Found A Fifty 7 11-12 Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy 10/1
3 3 Facile Vega 7 11-12 W P Mullins Paul Townend 4/1
Sharjah 11 11-12 W P Mullins Brian Hayes 33/1
Marine Nationale 7 11-12 Barry Connell Michael O'Sullivan 4/7F
29 Senecia 7 11-12 Vincent Laurence Halley Phillip Enright 200/1