And trainer Noel Meade declared: “I’m delighted for Paul. He’s had a rough time for a while,” after Cottage Oak, unplaced in the 2008 Champion Bumper in Cheltenham before enduring injury problems, had made all to land the Visit punchestown.com Maiden Hurdle.
“This horse has had his problems but was a very exciting young horse. He came back from Cheltenham with damage to ligaments in his knee and it has been a battle ever since. He should probably have won the last day in the north – he lost ground at the start and was always flat to the boards over two miles.
“All he does is stay and today’s trip suited him much better. That’s why Paul bounced him out and let him roll along. He’d have no problem with three miles and will go for a winners’ race over at least two and a half miles.”
Completing his double, Carberry brought the Adrian Maguire-trained What’s Up Gorden from well off the pace to land the Tote Trifecta Rollover Handicap Hurdle at the expense of Silent Jo and the flattering Spa Wells.
“Credit to the horse and the jockey,” said winning trainer Maguire. “Paul gave him a peach of a ride to win. I was worried from the time the tape went up, because he had plenty to do. It’s great to get him back on the winning trail after a few setbacks.
“He’s a better horse over fences and, hopefully, we might win a decent ‘pot’ with him over the summer. I might even think about having a crack at the Galway Plate.”
The opening, three-runner Go Racing In Kildare Chase produced its own drama and the first of many reverses for favourite-backers as even-money favourite Archie Boy, clear and set to record his seventh success over fences, crashed with Davy Russell at the second last fence.
The favourite’s exit left the way clear for the Andy Lynch-trained Coscorrig, a recent winner in Cork, ridden by Andrew Lynch, to beat See U Bob, with the favourite remounted to earn third prize of €2,100.
Successful trainer Lynch admitted: “We’ve had enough bad luck with her, but had luck on our side today. She’s not a bad mare and loves that ground. She was crying out for it all winter. So we should have plenty of enjoyment with her over the summer. It’s just a case of finding suitable races for her – I think Roscommon would suit her, so we’ll try to find a race there.”
Trainer Danny O’Sullivan enjoyed a welcome change of luck when Larry Luso, well handled by Mark O’Hare, proved a shock 16/1 winner of the Conyngham Cup, denying the Charles Byrnes-trained morning gamble Classic Frontier by a head.
O’Sullivan commented: “That should get the show back on the road. It’s badly needed. He ran well here the last day and, on that form, had a chance. He’s a very big horse, bit wants fast ground and a big track. If he goes up enough in the ratings, I might think of bringing him to Uttoxeter for the Summer National.”
Favourite Baracas appeared to have the Panoramic Restaurant Maiden Hurdle at his mercy when taking command between the last two flights. But Barry Geraghty’s mount flattened the final hurdle, lost his momentum and lost out to 50/1 shot Stanton Court, ridden by John Cullen.
Otterstown Lady, trained by Cathy O’Leary and ridden by Shane Hassett, foiled flattering favourite Oilily in the Dobbins Panoramic Restaurant Mares Maiden Hurdle, prompting her trainer to suggest: “that was well deserved. She’s a nice filly, even if she’s a bit hot, and, with a bit of luck, we’ll have a good summer with her”.
Charles O’Brien saddled debutante Fantasy King to win the bumper.