The €40,000 Rentokil Initial Handicap Hurdle was the feature on Friday's card in Killarney and Wouldn’t You Agree, winner of a maiden hurdle in June at Listowel and placed a couple of times since, dug deep to land the spoils for Eoin Griffin and jockey Mark McDonagh.
Three runs went to the final flight together but the winner, though not the quickest over the flight, picked up best of all under a strong ride to see off Visionarian and Whatsnotoknow.
“He’s done us proud here today,” said Griffin. “As we were driving down, we were just driving into really heavy rain, and we were worried about how the ground was. But there was a nice strip along the inner and Mark had walked it as well and we came up with the plan - and thankfully it worked out.
“He took the brave man’s route and gave him a nice ride, bar the little bit of scrimmaging (at the third-last). But he got out, and that’s the main thing.
“My horse is really tough. He’s actually a very unimpressive horse at home. When I got him first, I didn’t have much hope for him, but it was only when I brought him away from home that we knew we had something else on our hands. And that was only his fifth run on the track, and his first was in June. He’ll go for the valuable handicap hurdle in Listowel next.”
Having won at Perth and Cartmel on two previous starts, Calagogo impressed in completing his treble in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Hurdle. Bar an awkward leap at the last, he had been quick across his obstacles and the all-the-way winner found plenty late on to score under Jordan Gainford. The well-backed Desir Du Large was mounting a challenge when crashing out at the second-last.
Gainford doubled up aboard the Paul Nolan-trained Mister Bells, which he got a great response from to snatch victory from Old Town Road in the final yards of the Kelly Foley O’Connor Pyne Handicap Chase.
The two juvenile hurdles run thus far this season have both had eventful first-hurdle experiences, this time with three fallers. There was further drama later in the race when odds-on favourite and clear leader Feigh, trained by Willie Mullins, was almost carried out by a loose horse. Fortunately, Paul Townend was able to get his mount back on track and she justified her market position.
Mullins and Townend followed up with Karl Der Grosse, who made light of an absence to take the Owens McCarthy Loss Assessors Beginners’ Chase. Brought with a beautifully timed run to lead along the inside going to the second-last, he stayed on well to win with a degree of authority.
Black Samurai, trained by Sean Aherne for Eoin Barry, continued his fine run of form with a game win in the Muckross Handicap Chase. Running off top weight following two wins and a runner-up finish in his last three outings, he returned to winning ways with a convincing victory under regular jockey Sean O’Keeffe.
In Kilbeggan, Mick Winters took the opener, the Hurley Family Maiden Hurdle, with the regally bred Dark Spark. A bumper winner at this track, the son of Hatton’s Grace winner Voler La Vedette made all to win easily under Gavin Brouder.
Jack Foley had to recover a lost iron very quickly to take the KilbegganRaces.com Novice Hurdle aboard the Barry Fitzgerald-trained Apple Crumble. That was the only moment of anxiety as his mount travelled supremely and, despite the scare, the mare won with authority.