La Bague Au Roi not only stamped herself the best staying novice chaser in Britain or Ireland, but became the first British horse to win at the Dublin Racing Festival when landing the Grade One Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Sunday.

However, trainer Warren Greatrex still has strong reservations about running her in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham next month and may keep her fresh for Aintree after a tough race to beat Kaiser Black by a 1¼ lengths.

With the race being run at a slow gallop, the mare and Richard Johnson jumped to the front at the second fence and then made the running for the rest of the race.

Although Johnson had quickened the pace up a bit from a mile out, La Bague Au Roi’s five rivals appeared to be ganging up for a pop at her between the last two fences. However, she pulled out a magnificent leap at the last and galloped all the way to the line.

“She is a star,” said Greatrex, who has maintained all season that this is the best mare he will ever train. “She loves her jumping but Richard said she wanted some company. It was do or die at the last, but she is so tough. She is a pleasure to train and the plan has paid off. I think it is important we support this meeting.
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