Heron hits the heights at Punchestown

Heron Heights bounced back to form to run out victorious in the Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase at Punchestown.

Third in the race last year, Henry de Bromhead's nine-year-old had not shown his best form of late and had only run once since the Galway Festival.

Partnered by Robbie Power for the first time, Heron Heights (16-1) could be spotted travelling noticeably well and cruised past Rogue Angel and Kylecrue to win by seven lengths.

Power said: "It's been a fantastic week. Henry was hopeful - he was just a bit worried about the ground, but he jumped everywhere and did it well in the end."

De Bromhead said: "It's great for the owners and Robbie gave him a super ride.

"He'll keep going over the summer and could be one for the (Galway) Plate or the Kerry National or the summer Nationals."

Wounded Warrior (20-1), second in the Growise Novice Chase at this meeting three years ago, made most of the running for an impressive success in the BoyleSports Handicap Chase.

Noel Meade's nine-year-old had shown precious little since, bar when he was second in the Thyestes Chase in January, but he had seemingly regressed from that run.

Ridden positively by Sean Flanagan, he barely saw another rival and beat Isleofhopendreams by seven lengths with Harry Fry's Fletchers Flyer third.

Meade said: "He's a little bit of a character, he doesn't always put his best foot forward.

"He ran a very good race (when second) in the Thyestes Chase and then lost his way again, but he's come back. We knew he was coming back but he's hard to predict.

"He stays very well and Sean got a good tune out of him and he jumped great. It's hard to win here, there's a fella down there in Carlow called Mullins and he's just taking over!"

The Ballymore Handicap Hurdle was another race dominated by Willie Mullins as Meri Devie led home three of the first four for the Closutton man.

Rachael Blackmore was replacing the injured Noel Fehily and the 14-1 chance swooped late to beat stablemate C'Est Jersey with Benkei third for Harry Rogers.

Mullins' Bunk Off Early looked to be coming to win the race but flattened the last and finished fourth.

Mullins said: "She disappointed me all year. I thought the way she was handicapped, she could win a big one but it took Rachael to get it out of her. She got very strong this year and I just couldn't get her fit enough."

In what capped an unbelievable week for Mullins his Passageway (7-2 joint-favourite) came with a late run to win the PDM (Pro/AM) INH Flat Race under Patrick Mullins to provide the team with an incredible 18th winner of the meeting.

PA


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