In the absence of Hughes’ Western Charmer and Bob Lingo, only three contested 5the Grade 2 Tote Pick Six Killiney Novice Chase and, Drinmore winner Jessie’s Dream was sent off a red-hot 4/9 favourite to defy a 7lb. Grade 1 penalty.
But Gordon Elliott’s charge, ridden with supreme confidence by Timmy Murphy,
failed by three-quarters of a length to peg back front-running Magnanimity, energetically ridden by Davy Russell in the colours of Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud.
Idle in front and driven into quite a few fences by Russell, Magnanimity kept responding in the closing stages, to the delight of his trainer, who commented: “He looked good the last day and is a real three-miler. He stays going and doesn’t mind heavy ground.
“He’s not tired and finished very fresh, which confirms what Davy said, that he was lazy and idling in front all the way. He’ll come back here for the Dr P J Moriarty Novice Chase next month and the head for the RSA at Cheltenham.”
Boylesports, Grahams and Ladbrokes all make Magnanimity a 16/1 shot for the RSA while Stan James appeared well out of line with a bold 66/1 quote.
Blinkered for the first time, Rare Bob, a Grade 1 winner as a novice, defied top-weight of 11-12 when making all under Paddy Flood in the Tote Pick Six Every Sunday Leopardstownn Chase.
Jumping well, the eight-year-old had his rivals at full stretch with three to jump and stayed on up the straight to beat Got Attitude, to which he conceding 22lb. by two lengths.
Hughes said: “The blinkers definitely help him concentrate and he enjoys being in front. I rate him a real three-miler, so it’s great to win a good handicap like this over two miles and five.
“I suppose he deserved to win a decent handicap and he’ll be entered for a few at Cheltenham. The lads that own him would love to have a runner over there. But, at this stage, I’d say the Ryanair is his most likely target.”
Tony McCoy was seen at his strongest when forcing the Noel Meade-trained Rahan De Marcigny back up to beat the flattering Tawaagg by a half-length in the www.tote.com Beginners Chase.
The last fence was omitted due to the low-lying sun, leaving a run-in of more than three furlongs. And, after Tawaagg (Paul Townend) came through to head the winner after passing what should have been the final fence, McCoy rousted Rahan De Marcigny to rally and earn the spoils.
Trainer Meade said: “He jumped great and, for a horse that doesn’t usually find much off the bridle, he battled well for A P. He won over hurdles in France and was very difficult to place when we got him. I have no big plans for him. He’s rated 119 over fences, which is probably high enough.”
Meade went on to complete a fine double when Across The Bay, pulled up in his last two starts, in the Troytown and Paddy Power, enjoyed the return to hurdling when proving a shock, 20/1 winner of the three-mile Pertemps Qualifier, proving too strong for Son Amix in the closing stages.
A relieved Meade explained, “It’s great to get him back on track. For some reason, he lost his bottle over fences and was pulled up early the last twice. The Lads (the Scotch Piper Syndicate) nearly pulled the plug on me, and the horse. So we decided to try him back over hurdles. After he jumped the second today, I could see that he was pricking his ear and enjoying himself.
“He’ll stay over hurdles, but he needs soft ground and three miles so opportunities will be limited for him.”
The Bull Hayes, helped by the presence of Barry Geraghty in the saddle and going left-handed, readily turned over the McCoy-ridden favourite Ballyburke in the opening maiden hurdle.
Formerly a classy, if ultimately disappointing performer on the flat, The Bull Hayes was bouncing back from a dismal effort at Cork last time. Always travelling well, he swept past the free-running favourite after the second last before forging clear to triumph by twelve lengths.
The Bull Hayes is trained for John Hennessy and John Wholey by Jessica Harrington, who commented: “I don’t know what happened in Cork the last day — he just spat the dummy out! One of his owners has a theory that he doesn’t like travelling, that he has never run well after a long journey.”