Described by his trainer as “only a little pony”, the French-bred seven-year-old, carrying the familiar Gigginstown colours, made every yard of the running, jumped well and stayed on to beat Magnanimity (which Davy Russell chose in preference to the winner) by five lengths, with disappointing favourite Joncol third.
“This was his Gold Cup,” stated a delighted Elliott afterwards. “He came on well from his run in Gowran. And he had fitness on his side against the favourite. We’ll pick and choose conditions races at some of the smaller tracks for him.”
It was a mixed day for Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, successful with the exciting former point-to-pointer Rule The World in the maiden hurdle, half an hour after 8/15 shot Trifolium was firmly beaten by the Barry Geraghty-ridden Miley Shah, a first Grade 3 winner for Co Carlow trainer John Kenny, in the Ryans Cleaning Events Specialists Hurdle.
Having tracked the winner and made a couple of mistakes, the 8/15 shot could make little impression from the second last as Miley Shah forged clear to win impressively by thirty-two lengths.
Kenny explained: “Barry says he’s not a natural frontrunner, so we’ll probably drop in the next day. He might go for the Royal Bond (Grade 1) in Fairyhouse and will get an entry in races like the Morgiana — there are often very small fields for them.”
It was a day to remember for Mouse Morris, who completed a double with racecourse debutant Rule The World and prolific winner Baily Green, which completed a superb summer six-timer in the Grade 3 Buck House Novice Chase.
Successful three times over fences at Roscommon,. in addition to Limerick, and successful in a handicap hurdle in Killarney, the David Casey-ridden six-year-old got the measure of front-running Special Tiara from the second last to triumph by fifteen lengths.
Casey praised the “great training performance” by Morris, who commented. “He was supposed to get a break when the ground changes. But he was so well that I had to run him. Heavy ground is a problem for the horse, because it catches his wind. But David gave him a great ride — held on to him and asked him for one big effort up the straight.”
Baily Green will have a break now before being prepared for a spring campaign, with Aintree very much on his agenda.
Earlier Morris declared “He couldn’t do any more,” after five-year-old Rule The World, winner of his only point-to-point, cruised to a 13lengths win under Davy Russell in the Buy Your 2013 Annual Badge Maiden Hurdle.
Bouncing back from a poor run in Listowel (pulled up), the Willie Mullins-trained Tarla bolted-up under Ruby Walsh in the opening, Grade 3 Grabel Mares Hurdle, making all to beat Benny’s Fagartha, effortlessly, by 12 lengths.
Noel Meade plans to go hurdling straight away with Heck Thomas following his odds-on debut win under Nina Carberry in the bumper while owner JP McManus’ Racing Manager Frank Berry was full of praise for John Thomas McNamara after he delivered the ‘Boots’ Madden-trained Highdownhill with a well-timed late challenge to foil Dark Vagabond in the Ingoldsby (Amateur) Handicap Chase.
And the John Berry-trained mare Civena might reappear at Fairyhouse on Tuesday following her smooth success, under Paul Townend, in the 10 Euro Admission Handicap Hurdle.