“We had bad owners, but have very good ones now, days like this don’t come around too often,” exclaimed the Athenry, Co Galway trainer.
Ridden by Andrew Lynch and carrying the colours of Gilligan’s father, Eamonn, the tough 11-year-old dug deep to beat Tarquinius by a head.
Then there was further drama as a stewards’ inquiry was called, after Jadanli had drifted to his left towards the stands on the run-in. But there was little or no interference and a reversal of the placings was never a possibility.
Lynch drove the winner ahead going to the third last, with Tarquinius far from fluent here, pecking at the back of the obstacle.
Tarquinius, though, rallied in tremendous style for Davy Condon, but Jadanli kept finding, holding on for dear life close home.
“He ran an absolutely super race in the Welsh National (Chepstow), even though pulling up,” reported Gilligan.
“The horse has been injured for half of his life, he might go for the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse now.
“I’d say the Irish National will be the race for him. He will probably get an entry for Aintree, but the ground will likely be too quick.”
Jadanli was returned at 25-1 and was a terrific, and much-needed boost, to his trainer. “We’ve had a rough time of it,” he admitted, “but we love the game.”
The Westener Boy and Outlaw Pete, owned by JP McManus, were strong in the market and went off the 4-1 joint favourites.
The Westener Boy was racing near the back when falling at the seventh, while Outlaw Pete was never going the pace and could only plug on to claim sixth spot.
The Westener Boy was removed to the Fethard veterinary clinic for further examination.
Tony Martin’s Bog Warrior was far too strong for Zaidpour in the Grade 2 John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle.
Davy Russell took no prisoners on Bog Warrior, setting a decent pace in front. Ruby Walsh, on Zaidpour, always had him in his sights, but his charge began to struggle heading to the home turn.
Zaidpour, to his credit, stuck to his guns and had half a chance when the winner treated himself to a good look at the last.
But Bog Warrior picked up quickly for Russell and was a cosy three and a quarter lengths to the good at the line.
Said Martin: “It was his first time over three miles, but I always thought would stay. Originally, I felt he was a four miler. He’s in everything at Cheltenham, the Gold Cup, Ryanair and World Hurdle. But the lads (Gigginstown, owners) have so many horses, I just don’t know what will be next.”
Both Stan James and Boylesports gave Bog Warrior a 10-1 quote for the World Hurdle, which looks his most likely target, should he actually head to the festival.
We saw two decent juveniles in the Nugent Spirit 25 Horsebox Hurdle, with Willie Mullins' Dogora beating Sabrina Harty's Dalasiri a head. The fact it was 30 lengths back to the third was obviously encouraging.
Dalasiri made most of the running, but Dogora appeared to have taken his measure coming away from the second last.
Dalasiri, however, fought back in fine style and Ruby Walsh had to give Dogora the full treatment to hold the runner-up.
Said Mullins: “That was hard work. The two of them idled in the straight, they are two nice horses.
“Dogora will get an entry in the Fred Winter (Cheltenham), but I’ll probably keep him at home for Fairyhouse.”
It all nearly went pear-shaped for Dogora at the first, as he was lucky enough to survive a blunder. Explained Walsh: “He hit the top bar and then stumbled at the back of the flight.”
Mullins completed a double when Cheltenham-bound Sizing Tennessee justified cramped odds in the Bumper.
He made practically all the running, picking up nicely for Patrick Mullins from the furlong pole to beat Kandinski with a fair bit in hand.
Commented Mullins senior: “We earmarked this race for him and said if he won would go to Cheltenham and that’s the plan.”
Stan James gave him a quote of 16-1, from 25’s, for the Wetherbys’ Champion Bumper.
Curvacious, trained by Ted Stanners at Innishannon, Co Cork, ran her rivals ragged in the Four Star Langton House Hotel Maiden Hurdle.
She made every yard of the running for David Splaine and had this in safe-keeping early in the straight to easily beat heavily-backed favourite, Bell Weir.
“She ran over two miles and two at Limerick and probably didn’t stay,” reported Stanners. “We might go handicapping now, we’ll see what the handicapper does.”
John Joe Walsh’s Rory Anna, third to Tennis Cap at Naas last Saturday, made a quick and winning reappearance in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle
She defied top weight in style, powering ahead for Declan Bates before two out to beat market-leader, Barneys Honour.
Commented Walsh: “Declan was great, that’s the first time he has ridden for me. He kept her wide for the good ground and she loves a bit of daylight.”
Eoin Doyle’s Lookoutnow faces a fair old hike in the weights, following his victory in the KCLR Heart Of Carlow Kilkenny Carey's Cottage Cup Handicap Chase.
Partnered by Michael Butler, he had this won, bar a fall, crossing the third last, scoring by 16 lengths.