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Carefully Selected not foot-perfect but gets job done in dramatic Naas triumph

Carefully Selected qualified for the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham when coming out on top in a dramatic Grade 3 Naas Racecourse Business Club Novice Chase.

The Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old, who is now unbeaten in three chases, was deliberate and slow at some of his fences and survived a bad blunder at the third-last with Paul Townend clinging on.

Carefully Selected – a 4-6 favourite – made the early running and was left in front when Spyglass Hill, who held a narrow lead, fell two out leaving Townend's mount to stay on for a four-length win.

Mullins said: "This victory over three miles means he is qualified for the National Hunt Chase and that will be his festival target. It's the second time he has come back from a bad mistake to win – he did the same on his chasing debut at Fairyhouse.

"Bar the third-last, he jumped safely if a bit slowly. He stays well but isn't without speed and the Cheltenham race looks the job for him. Running him back only two weeks after his Punchestown win is not something we'd usually do but we had to get him qualified for the Cheltenham race and he's got the job done.

"Better ground than he had here shouldn't be a problem over the longer trip at Cheltenham."

Townend said: "It was messy and he was lucky to stand up at the third-last. He looked around in front but they're novices and he should learn a lot from it."

One of the new terms and conditions of the National Hunt Chase for 2020 is for all participants to have finished in the first four of a chase over 2m7½f or further, conditions Carefully Selected has now met after his first run in a chase over the required distance.

Bookmaker reaction saw Betfair and Paddy Power leave Carefully Selected unchanged at 4-1 for the Cheltenham event, while he remains at 7-2 with BoyleSports.

Patrick Mullins, who will ride Carefully Selected at Cheltenham, will be seeking a third National Hunt Chase win after triumphs on Back In Focus in 2013 and on Rathvinden two years ago.

The James Nash-trained Forza Milan finished second with Elwood eight and a half lengths back in third.

Carefully Selected's chief market rival Ronald Pump finished a  disappointing fourth and was later reported by the IHRB veterinary officer to have suffered an over-reach to his near foreleg.

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