Twelve months ago the Glenview & Rathbarry Stud Novice Hunter Chase was won by the now Punchestown Champion Hunter Chase hero Its On The Line, and the 2023 edition was won by another progressive individual as Shantou Shou recorded his third success on the bounce.
A Kirkistown maiden winner when defeating the recent Down Royal Hunter Chase winner Ballydesmond, the Shantou gelding had himself also added a Downpatrick Hunter Chase to his CV with a 15-length success on what was his final outing for his then trainer Sean McParlan.
Making his debut for the Noel Kelly team, the seven-year-old was sent off as an 11/4 shot, for a race which was run at a steady tempo through the early stages until the keen running Lar’s Lass pulled her way to the front.
That Cork Hunter Chase victor had established an eight-length advantage for herself racing along the back straight as they went into the final half-mile, and her rider Barry O’Neill still sat comfortable entering the home straight as her advantage was whittled down.
A good jump two-out again saw her kick on as Shantou Show and Oran McGill tried to close, and whilst Lar’s Lass was again the quicker out over the final fence, she was run down in the closing stages as Shantou Show got on top by a neck at the line.
Brave Starlight was a further three and three quarter lengths back in third, with the favourite Asian Master never really landing a serious blow as he finished fourth.
“He was good here today, likes to come from off the pace as he had done at Downpatrick,” McGill said.
“When I saw the mare [Lar’s Lass] go past in the back straight, she seemed very keen, so I just bided my time, and we reeled her in.
“The form has been good from Kirkistown, so we were hopeful for a good run. I would say he would want better ground than that, the rain didn’t help us.
“He is lightly raced and is improving away, hopefully he will be a good horse for the summer.”