Trained in his Bumper days by Mullins before spending time with Charles Byrnes, Barrow Drive produced his most impressive performance to date over the larger obstacles to beat a field of seasoned handicappers.
But his task was undoubtedly eased when the odds-on favourite Moscow Express slipped badly on landing and almost came to grief at the seventh fence.
Ruby Walsh’s mount survived the mishap but dropped out of contention and was eventually pulled up.
Barrow Drive, having tracked the leader Ferbet Junior, jumped into the lead at the third last fence and stayed on strongly to beat Cregg House and Alcapone decisively.
“He's definitely a better horse at 2½ miles plus and won’t run again against handicappers,” said the delighted trainer Mullins. I have a novice race at Galway on Bank Holiday Monday in mind for him but that's only two miles and a furlong.
“If the ground is very soft, he might go there . If not, I'll look for a suitable race at Cheltenham next month.”
Johnny Murtagh and his nearest pursuer in the race for the Jockey’s Championship Michael Kinane were both on the mark, sharing the honours in the divisions of the two year old maiden.
Kinane gave punters a good start to the day when Some Kind Of Tiger, a three-parts brother to Balanchine, got the better of Kossu in the opener, bringing Kinane's tally for the season to 63.
But Murtagh replied, restoring his three winner lead when giving Elasouna a tender ride to short- head Twogoodreasons in the second division. Elasouna, a sister to three Group 1 winners, was described by winning trainer John Oxx as: “a small tidy filly” and will now be put away until next season.
Kevin Manning captured the Kilenny Racing Festival Handicap on Mirela for Jim Bolger but refused to fulfill his final engagement of the day as he considered the ground to be unsafe.
Mark Loughnane, who has just moved into a new yard in Thurles, saddled Camargue to register his third win of the season in the Gowran Park Golf and Leisure Handicap.
National Hunt enthusiasts suffered a succession of setbacks as the four favourites in the jumping events were all turned over, starting with Moscow Express.
Dashing Home challenged to lead at the second last flight in the Kilford Arms Three-Year-Old Hurdle but was outstayed in the closing stages by Party Airs, trained by Dermot Weld and a second winner of the season for David Evans.
Whithworth Ben started odds-on for the Newpark Hotel Novice Hurdle but flopped, finishing a well beaten fifth behind all the way winner Satco Express, trained by ‘Dusty’ Sheehy and enterprisingly ridden by David Casey.
Sheehy explained that the six-year- old, a promising Bumper horse two years ago, suffered from a muscle injury last season and feared that he was not fit enough for this assignment. He might run Satco Express again at Limerick on Monday.
Trainer-rider Sean O’Brien captured the Bumper on Roddy The Vet which forged clear in the final furlong to beat Alaynia in a race in which favourite You Little Daisy could finish only fifth.
Meanwhile Corals yesterday opened betting on the Breeders Cup Juvenile and make the Aiden O’Brien-trained Hold That Tiger 5-1 second favourite to emulate his stablemate Johannesburg. Sky Mesa is the 7-2 favourite.
‘‘Hold That Tiger must have an outstanding chance of repeating Johannesburg’s win last year. He has the form, the breeding and the trainer to beat the best of the US on their own surface’’, said Simon Clare, Coral Spokesman.
The company is now offering betting on all eight Breeders Cup races taking place at Arlington Park on 26th October. Orientate attracted support for the Breeders Cup Sprint and is now 7-2 from 5-1, while Kalookan Queen is 16-1 from 33-1 for the same race.
Breeders Cup - Coral betting
Breeders Cup Juvenile
7-2 Sky Mesa, 5-1 Hold That Tiger, 6-1 Vindication, Whywhywhy, Toccet, 10-1 Wando, 12-1 Kafwain, 14-1 Bull Market, 16-1 Zavata, 20-1 Van Nistelrooy, 25-1 Marino Marini, Listen Indy.
Breeders Cup Mile:
6-4 Rock of Gibraltar, 7-1 Beat Hollow, Landseer, 10-1 Domedriver, Forbidden Apple, Dressed To Thrill, 14-1 Affirmed Success, Gossamer, Aldebaran, 16-1 Bar
Breeders Cup Turf:
5-2 High Chapparal, 5-1 Marienbard, Golan, 10-1 Ballingarry, Denon, 14-1 The Tin Man, Mubtaker, Dance Routine, 16-1 With Anticipation, Super Quercus, 20-1 Hap, Falcon Flight, 25-1 Blazing Fury, 33-1 Cetewayo, Strut The Stage, Delta Form
Breeders Cup Classic: 4-1 Medaglio D’Oro, 6-1 War Emblem, 7-1 Came Home, 8-1 Rock Of Gibraltar, Evening Attire, 10-1 Pleasantly Perfect, 14-1 Hawk Wing, 16-1 Bar.