Quito De La Roque wins Champion Chase at Down Royal
Quito De La Roque produced a storming finish to win the JN Wine Champion Chase at Down Royal on Saturday.
The mount of Davy Russell, a winner at April's Grand National meeting at Aintree, pipped Sizing Europe who was runner-up for the second year in a row.
The 11-4 favourite, owned by Michael O'Leary and trained in Wicklow by Colm Murphy, has been quoted at 16-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
The Nightingale, trained by Paul Nicholls, was third.
Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Sizing Europe had finished second to Kauto Star in the Down Royal feature in 2010.
Quito De La Roque had looked to be struggling and The Nightingale appeared the biggest threat to Sizing Europe.
The Nightingale, with Paul Carberry aboard after intended rider Noel Fehily was unable to make the trip due to the weather, looked to have claimed the advantage at the second-last as Sizing Europe made a bad mistake and Midnight Chase came to grief.
Lynch's mount got back on an even keel though and was in control again jumping the last, but Quito De La Roque was making huge strides in behind.
Responding to Russell's every urging, he jumped the last and powered through the testing ground to catch Sizing Europe and win by a comfortable length and a quarter.
Earlier at Down Royal, Crossgar trainer Colm McBratney sent out Selection Box to win the Tayto Group Handicap Hurdle at odds of 8-1.