It took a real piece of Ruby Walsh artistry to get him to do the business, however, after the ten-year-old proved a strong order in the market, 4-5 from evens.
Silent Native and Palace Storm set a searching gallop, which took Bob What off his feet in the early stages. “I was going as fast as I was able”, reported Walsh subsequently.
Silent Native got the best of the battle up front starting out for the final time and was clear three out.
But Walsh, unperturbed, had worked Bob What into the contest and the ten-year-old closed to about six lengths of the leader heading to the penultimate obstacle.
Walsh waited until between the last two fences before going for his charge and Bob What answered the call, surging into the lead approaching the last. In the end he crossed the line an easy three and a half lengths clear of his tired rival.
Said Mullins: “He’s in two races here on Sunday and might come back again.”
The impressive Rory Cleary rode his 18th winner of the campaign, it was his 20th overall, when Shayrandar coasted to victory in the Anglo Irish Bank Maiden.
It was only the second time Cleary had ridden for Michael O’Brien, the first yielding a lucrative success on High Priestess at Galway.
Shayrandar was always travelling sweetly and there was only going to be one result once Cleary let out an inch of rein on the uphill sweep to the home turn.
O’Brien’s assistant, Denis Cullen, said: “This horse needed his run at Galway and came on plenty. He wants real nice ground and has schooled well over hurdles.”
Pat Cosgrave, who took a fall from Taylors Tree Rock in this contest, was bruised and sore and stood down until Sunday.
Niall Madden (18), who rode his first winner some two years earlier at Wexford, lost the right to claim aboard Ballintry Guest in the Snowcream Milk Maiden Hurdle.
This was his 55th winner and the talented youngster hardly had to move a muscle on Pat Flynn’s eight-year-old.
Held up for much of the trip, Ballintry Guest made smooth progress on the final circuit to lead two out and score unextended by five lengths.
Madden completed a double on the Tim Doyle trained Jack Daniels in the O’Neills’ Bar Bumper.
This was a terrific effort on his part. Jack Daniels tried to make all, but heavily-backed favourite, Another Superman, was cantering all over him for most of the journey.
Another Superman was in front into the straight, but Madden got a tremendous response from Jack Daniels, who fought back to get well on top inside the furlong pole.
Mark Walsh rode an enterprising race to take the Kiely Gaule Financial Services Handicap Hurdle on top weight, Ogan Hill.
Walsh made the long burst for home with over a circuit to cover. Market leader, Academy Brief, made gradual progress from behind to throw down a challenge heading to the last, but found little for pressure and was two lengths adrift at the line.
Commented trainer, John Codd: “He always runs well here, this is his track. If sound he will turn out again on Friday evening.”
Course and distance winner, the Christy Donoghue trained Honky Tonk Woman, the outsider of the six runners, spreadeagled her rivals in the Noel Cummins Bookmaker Handicap.
She made every yard of the running for Michael Hussey, showing plenty of resolution in the closing stages as Brogella tried to close.
Said Donoghue: “She will come back here on Sunday for another handicap.”
Favourite, Batang, proved most disappointing. He was in trouble fully four furlongs down and could only plug on one-paced.
Brian Hughes was seen to advantage, even if severely cautioned for his use of the whip, when grabbing the Waterford Hurlers’ Handicap for the Leslie Young yard on Dee’s Angel.
In a moderate event, Dee’s Angel went on passing under the four furlong marker, but was all out out close home to hold the late effort of Jemmy’s Flame.