Bishop digs deep to claim National

THE Grand National at Cork yesterday produced a terrific local victory with the Tom Nagle trained The Bishop Looney digging deep to beat Another Palm.

Tullintain was in front when parting company with Philip Enright four out, leaving Another Palm in the lead.

For most of the straight Another Palm looked the most likely winner, but Tom Doyle powered The Bishop Looney into contention heading to the final fence.

There wasn’t much between the principals jumping the obstacle, but it was The Bishop Looney who had the answers on the flat and was a comfortable three parts of a length to the good at the line.

“I want to thank Richard O’Dea, who works for me”, said Nagle. “He schooled him yesterday morning and again this morning.

“This is a classy horse, but he thinks about things. Tom was brilliant, you cannot force him to jump. He will be entered in the Paddy Power (Leopardstown), but I don’t know if he’s robust enough for that race.”

Nagle won the National previously in 2008 when Alicakdoo was awarded the race in controversial circumstances, after finishing second to Operation Houdini.

First Lieutenant, shocked by De Valira and an inspired Ruby Walsh at the track last time, made no mistake in the Dial-A-Bet 1800 721821 EBF Novice Chase.

Trained by Mouse Morris for Gigginstown House Stud, he was partnered with great confidence by in-form Davy Russell.

The pilot was in no hurry, but did allow the imposing son of Presenting to lead nearing the penultimate fence.

Front-running Stephanie Kate never gave up the ghost, but First Lieutenant was only asked to do enough and was always in control.

Trainer, Mouse Morris, said: “He may have one more run and then it will be Leopardstown at Christmas.

“I’m not sure where it will be. He will be entered in the Drinmore (Fairyhouse), but I’m not anxious to take on the big boys just yet. After Leopardstown, the plan will be to go straight to Cheltenham.”

Looking to the future the horse to take out of this card was certainly Noel Meade’s imposing grey, Sword Of Destiny.

Yet another possible star in the making for Gigginstown, he took the Dial-A-Bet 1800 721821 EBF Novice Hurdle in a canter, initiating a double for Russell.

Farrells Fancy, well-backed and with some useful form to his credit, tried to get the favourite off the bridle and went to the front coming away from the fourth last.

But Russell arrived pulling a train on the winner and didn’t have to move a muscle, as Sword Of Destiny eased away from two out.

“I thought even money was a great price, he has improved so much since winning his maiden and is getting better and better every day”, reported Meade.

“He has the size and scope and is a great clear-winded horse. He has also developed a bit of speed and I’m tempted now to go to Navan (Grade 1). He is a chaser for next season.”

Meade was also on the mark when Sam Bass proved too strong for Burrenbridge Lodge in the Mobile Betting three-year-old Hurdle.

Indifferent jumping proved costly for the runner-up and, banging into the last two, could not cope with the turn of foot produced by Sam Bass.

“I don’t know what happened him at Gowran Park, he jumped great today and is not a bad horse”, said Meade. “All going well, he will now head to Fairyhouse and we will take it from there.”

Jetson, who used to be trained by Meade, made a winning start for Jessica Harrington in the Mobile Betting INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle. Confidently handled by Robert Power, he coasted into the lead heading to the second last flight.

Jetson guessed at the obstacle, but it made no difference and he crossed the line almost four lengths clear of Daring Article.

Course commentator, Jerry Hannon, described the victory of Kirbybroguelantern, in the Mobile Betting Handicap Hurdle, as “a blast from the past.’

It more than pleased Kirbybroguelantern’s trainer, Tom Hogan, who promptly indicated he would call a horse that in the future.

The winner, powerfully handled by Robert Jones, stayed on stoutly over the last three flights to easily beat Dbanks. “He’s been knocking on the door and, thank God, opened it today”, smiled Hogan.

Willie Mullins’ newcomer, Hats And Heels, quickened clear over a furlong down to beat Andreas Pride in the Bumper.

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