Tony McCoy masterclass gets Gilgamboa home in Ryanair

Gilgamboa provided another fairytale chapter in Tony McCoy’s retirement tour when capturing the Grade 1 Ryanair Gold Cup Novice Chase in Fairyhouse yesterday.

Tony McCoy masterclass gets Gilgamboa home in Ryanair

The J P McManus-owned seven-year-old, off the track since February fought tenaciously under a strong ride from McCoy to master front-running favourite Gitane Du Berlais and forged clear before holding the late flourish of The Tullow Tank by a half-length.

A P’s first winner for trainer Enda Bolger, Gilgamboa was the second leg of a double on the day for McCoy and his 150th in Ireland.

A delighted Bolger stated: “It’s great to have the jockey on your side – this is his first winner for me and it’s great for everyone involved. The slow ground was a big help and after being a bit sticky early, he jumped great. You have to make up this fellow’s mind for him and when A P got a few digs into him, he pulled it out.”

Quizzed about plans for Gilgamboa, Bolger responded: “He could go for the three-mile Grade 1 in Punchestown, or this might be it for him.”

McCoy had earlier triumphed on the Tom Mullins-trained Sur Scorpion, also owned by ‘J P’, which justified 6/4 favouritism in the novice handicap hurdle after Joseph O’Brien was unseated by Marchese Marconi, when holding a narrow lead, at the last.

Victory in the other Grade 1 event, the Irish Stallion Farms Mares Novice Hurdle, went to the Harry Fry-trained Bitofapuzzle, which gained ample compensation for her close third to Glens Melody in the OLBG Mares Hurdle in Cheltenham.

Enterprisingly ridden by Noel Fehilly, the 3/1 favourite was clear and had her nearest rivals in trouble turning form home and, although tiring on the run-in, had four and a quarter lengths to spare over the Willie Mullins-trained four-year-old Petite Parisienne, which was followed home by stable-companions Lyrical Theatre and Uranna.

“She’s as tough as nails and enjoyed her racing,” stated a delighted Harry Fry after greeting his first Grade 1 winner. “Conditions suited her down to the ground and Noel pressed for home a long way out and ground them into submission.“

Champion trainer Willie Mullins (who scored with On His Own and Tennis Cap in Cork) completed a double on the supporting card, Shaneshill justifying odds-on favouritism in the Grade 2 Coolmore NH Sires Novice Hurdle and Castello Sforza, the first horse he has trained for Pearl Boodstock, giving his trainer a first win in the valuable Tattersalls-sponsored bumper.

Shaneshill coasted to an effortless win under Ruby Walsh, beating stable-companion Outlander by thirteen lengths and prompting Mullins to comment: “I didn’t think he’d go in that ground, but he handled it well. and will go to Punchestown now.

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