Spirit joy at Punchestown for proud Vaughan

Spirit Of Adjisa sprang a surprise with a game all-the-way win in the Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.

Tim Vaughan’s charge put up a gutsy effort in the hands of Richard Johnson to floor better-fancied rivals in this Grade One contest.

Prima Vista could not get past the 16-1 shot in a neck-and-neck tussle to the line, with market leaders First Lieutenant and So Young soundly beaten.

Johnson ensured it was a truly-run race, and had a few lengths in hand over his rivals in the early stages.

Gagewell Flyer was the first to try to test Spirit Of Adjisa but he proved a tough nut to crack – despite stepping up markedly in class.

Prima Vista put in a strong challenge in the straight but Spirit Of Adjisa, who is now unbeaten in three starts, kept finding more to win by a short head.

Vaughan said: "To be fair, if you look back at his form before he joined me he was placed behind Oscar Whisky and Finian's Rainbow, so obviously that form has worked out so well.

“He just had a little niggle at home so we thought it best to leave Cheltenham and Aintree and keep him for here.

“We thought he was coming here a fresh horse, and that some of the others might not be. The plan was to make the running. He was up in class but he’s tough as teak.”

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