He jumped and travelled really well for most of the contest, but was beaten in a matter of strides coming away from the third last.
Cashmans immediate reaction was to push Beef Or Salmon out from 8-1 to 12’s for the Gold Cup. They left Best Mate as their 5-2 market leader.
If the layers, the public and, dare one say it, the press, were less than ecstatic about the display the same could not be said of trainer, Michael Hourigan.
“I am very pleased”, he commented. “I didn’t really fancy him today, giving two stone to seasoned handicappers.
“Timmy (Murphy) said he had a good blow at the top of the hill. He was caught for fitness, you will see a different horse the next day.”
Hourigan confirmed the next day will be the James Nicholson at Down Royal on November 6. “That will be better for him, they will all be meeting at level weights”, said Hourigan.
As the body language of the assembled press corps continued to be less than enthusiastic, Hourigan, in typical fashion, quipped: “It doesn’t matter whether you guys are pleased or not, I am and that’s all that matters!”
Splendour set a strong gallop, but his jumping was dreadful and it was always just a question of when he came back to the field.
Leaving the third last Barrow Drive led, but two out there was little or nothing to choose between him, Risk Accessor and Colca Canyon.
Barrow Drive unseated Jim Culloty here and Risk Accessor stumbled at the back of the obstacle.
In any case it was Colca Canyon and Robert Power who surged on, holding the renewed effort of Risk Accessor and the late flourish of Takagi.
Winning trainer, Jessia Harrington, is currently holidaying in Portugal, but indications from the stable were that the Paddy Power Gold Cup at the Cheltenham November meeting will be the next target for Colca Canyon.
Culloty suffered mild concussion and a nose injury in his fall from Barrow Drive and was stood down for seven days.
Laurel View, 4-7 from 4-5, was the medium of some decent wagers in the Newenham Mulligan Novice Hurdle.
Mistakes at the first three flights were hardly a help, but once he was organised by Paul Carberry it was plain sailing.
Carberry eased him to the front before three out and Laurel View soon powered away to score unextended.
Commented trainer, Noel Meade: “We didn’t school him since he ran the last day, but that wouldn’t be unusual.
“He’s a lovely horse and Paul said his jumping was fine as soon as he warmed up. The Barry and Sandra Kelly race at Navan will be next.”
Tony McCoy, having his first ever ride for Edward O’Grady, made it a winning one aboard Monjoyau in the Michael Punch and Partners Hurdle.
McCoy went for glory before the straight, driving out J P McManus’ charge from the second last to beat the flattering, but promising, Balasari.
“The better ground was a help”, reported O’Grady. “He’s been very disappointing and I hope he now starts to get his act together.”
Rooftop Protest, who hadn’t run over flights for more than two years, looks set for a major hike in the weights, following a ten lengths victory in the Oakbruce Properties Handicap Hurdle.
He has, however, been in cracking form on the flat all summer and gave an exhibition of jumping in the hands of Keith Hadnett.
He bowled along shortly after the start and made the rest to win with a lot in hand.
Ruby Walsh gave Stashedaway a tremendous drive to take the Sherry Fitzgerald O’Malley Chase.
Front-running City Hall looked sure to score when holding a five or six lengths advantage heading to the penultimate fence.
But Walsh was now in full flow and Stashedaway answered the call to grab City Hall in the dying strides and score by a head.
Paul Carberry, who took a fall from Stage Affair at the third from home, was stood down for the rest of the day.
Stashedaway is trained by Michael O’Brien and he and Walsh combined for a double with Forget The Past in the Locke Bar EBF Beginners Chase.
A moderate enough performer over hurdles, this was a solid start to his new career.
Leading five out, he made the rest, after the final two fences were bypassed in a grief-stricken contest.
Market leader, Well Presented, was tracking the leaders when falling at the seventh.
The capable Joey Elliott gave Coccinelle an excellent drive to take the opening Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.
He soon had the mare in front and she never flinched, scooting home an easy six lengths to the good.