Willie Mullins was quick to praise Real Steel as he led a one-two-three in the Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase at Thurles.
Mullins entered Real Steel, Footpad and Voix Du Reve on Sunday afternoon, with Hardline and Jetz completing the field.
Real Steel received weight from the rest of the runners and took full advantage to bounce back after his fourth-place finish at Punchestown on December 8.
Mullins admits Footpad's performance was a little flat, but he has already started looking at the Cheltenham Festival for Sunday's winner.
He told reporters: "I was disappointed with Footpad, but I think he ran too free and the pace was a little bit slow. He did too much in the middle of the race and missing the omitted third-last fence didn't give him a chance to get his breath back.
"I was very pleased with how Real Steel jumped and how he stayed on, and he is improving. Voix Du Reve improved from his last run as well.
"I'd imagine the Ryanair Chase is the plan for Real Steel. Paul said he was as straight as a die today, and there was no bias (jumping left or right). We were concerned before, but we have to be looking at the Ryanair Chase with that performance.
"Footpad could possibly do the same, but today was not his run. Maybe he had too hard a race in Kempton, and it may have impacted on him."
Article Posted on Sunday 19th January 2020 @ 17.46
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