The well-backed 2-1 chance, trained by John Oxx and ridden by Declan McDonogh, sat behind the pace for much of the trip and when switched out to make a challenge gave generously to pip Boherbuoy by the minimum margin.
Unfortunately, her owner, President Michael D Higgins, was not in attendance to see the presidential colours carried to victory for the first time since Suailce landed the Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh, in 2008.
Said Oxx: “She’s loves a little cut in the ground, which is why we came here – we were hoping for a little bit of Kerry drizzle, and it worked.
“She’s a very big filly, of above-average ability. She’s had a lot of growing pains and it’s taken a bit of time to get her on the track, but hopefully she’ll progress as she goes along. When the ground gets a bit softer it’ll help her even more, and she’ll probably go a bit of distance.”
Vitally Important battled gamely to land the International Hotel Killarney Rated Race. Ridden close to the pace, the Andy Oliver-trained entire moved to the front early in the straight but was soon joined, and briefly headed, by Cradle Mountain. A fine buckle ensued, but the five-year-old regained the lead in the closing stages, under a determined drive from Chris Hayes.
Former Cheltenham Champion Bumper winner Silver Concorde was made to work to land the odds in the Celtic Steps at Killarney Racecourse Race but got on top late for an ultimately quite comfortable success. The 4-9 favourite looked in trouble when Little Rocky quickened the tempo in the homestraight, but under a strong ride from Finny Maguire, he forged ahead in the closing stages to hold Spacious Sky.
Trainer Harry Kelly predicts a bright future over hurdles for Lagostovegas, who ran out a most impressive winner of the first division of the Ross Golf Course Handicap in the hands of Conor Hoban.
Easy to back on course despite being suited by the give underfoot, the imposing three-year-old filly travelled strongly throughout and, when sent to the front in the straight, quickly opened a decisive advantage. She was in command from a long way out, and stormed home clear of Three Colours Red.
After admitting the pressure is off somewhat following this victory, Kelly turned his mind to the change of discipline: “I think she’s going to make a very smart jumping filly, and she’s already schooled. She’s 17.1 hh on the stick, so we’re probably lucky to be able to run her as a three-year-old, but I think you’re looking at a very nice hurdler of the future.”
The second division of the handicap was won by the Jessica Harrington-trained Dancing Noretta. Boris Bike looked to have stolen a march when quickening clear shortly after turning for home, but the winner got after the leader, reeled him in half a furlong out, and ran on strongly to win with something to spare.
Enjoy Responsibly – one of three runners for Henry de Bromhead – caused a 20-1 upset in the Bourn Vincent Memorial Handicap Chase. Jockey David Mullins produced yet another brilliant ride, this time sending his mount to the front from the outset and saving enough to quicken away approaching the second last. In a race in which no runner was able to get involved from off the pace, he quickened from the front to win by 10 lengths from Sizing Solution.
Following Abarta’s success at Downpatrick earlier in the day, Valours Minion completed an across-the-cards double for trainer Val O’Brien when taking the MC Group Handicap Chase under Mark Enright.
The heavily backed As De Pique (11-4f) looked to have been brought with a perfectly timed run but, after leading down to the last, he made a mistake, and that opened the door for Valours Minion. The 20-1 chance jumped to the front, and ran on strongly to score for the sixth time in his career.
Trainer Pat Neville, on the mark on Monday with Millstream Ned, has bigger prizes in mind following Shesaportrait’s victory in the closing McSweeney Arms Hotel Novice Chase. The improving seven-year-old set off in front, jumped fluently throughout, and, giving Mark Enright a quick double, saw off all comers in fine style.
“I left her off after her last win, and freshened her up for this race before Galway,” said Neville. “I think a lot of her, and I’m just hoping she gets into the Galway Plate because that’s been the aim all year with her.”
Looking for a little help, but not too much, from the handicapper, Neville added: “A lot of people thought I was mad when I mentioned it at the start of the year, and sure maybe I am mad, but I’m hoping we’ll get a small little mark – not a big mark – to squeeze in to the Plate.”