Cilaos Emery is uncertain whether he will be part of Willie Mullins’ formidable squad for the Cheltenham Festival despite a dominant display in the first race at Naas on Sunday.
Fourth in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last March, Cilaos Emery had only raced once since – sitting second behind his teammate Bachasson in Clonmel Oil Chase in November.
With champion jockey Paul Townend in the saddle, the nine-year-old was the 1-2 favorite to make a successful comeback in the third-year WhatOddsPaddy? Chase and couldn’t have been more impressive.
Cilaos Emery set a solid pace from the fall of the flag, with Daly Tiger the only one of his three rivals able to keep an eye on him.
There was little choice between the pair leaving their backs straight, but the market leader easily came out on the home turn and passed the post with 11 lengths in hand.
“The break didn’t hurt him and he came back good and strong,” Mullins said.
“He jumped really well and I was very happy.
“We will try to find another similar type of race for him.”
Cilaos Emery is listed in both the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Ryanair Chase in Cheltenham, but Mullins added: “I don’t know if he will be traveling.
“There could be some nice prizes at home. It’s good to bring him back to victory.
“We worked a lot on his jumps and I’m very happy it paid off.”