Ruby Walsh gave the grey a very patient ride, allowing him to sit a few lengths of the main body of runners for much of the trip. Walsh then eased his mount into contention around the final bends, before switching wide to mount a challenge approaching the second-last flight.
In front and in command jumping the last, the Willie Mullins-trained grey was ridden out to come home clear of the staying-on Draco.
Said the winning rider: “We thought he was well handicapped on his chase form, but he’s let us down a lot of times. We changed the tactics, and rode him like we did at Bellewstown, where he was a bit unlucky, maybe.
“Since Galway we changed his regime a bit - Gail (Carlisle) has been riding him every day - and thankfully it paid off today.”
Jefferson Davis landed a morning gamble (8-1 to 9-2) when making a successful handicap debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Nursery which opened the card.
Given a confident ride by Chris Hayes, the Kevin Prendergast-trained gelding came from second-last to challenge long-time leader Hollywood Road more than a furlong out. Running well to the line, the son of Duke Of Marmalade strolled home clear of favourite Dancing On Air.
Said Hayes: “He’s a nice horse. We fancied him earlier in the year but he was probably running over the wrong trip, and on wrong ground. The boss put on a visor today, and it worked.”
Current State belied his status as the outsider of the four runners in the Kelly Foley & Co Rated Race when getting up late to land the spoils under Wayne Lordan.
Giving trainer Tommy Stack a winner in his native county, the well-backed 6-1 chance came from last to first to beat Emperor Bob by half a length.
“It was nice she won today, Tommy likes to have a winner here, and he kept her nice and fresh since her last run, at Galway,” said Lordan.
“She stays well, and will get a mile and a quarter.”
Gelenschik recorded a third winner at the meeting for trainer John Oxx when taking the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies’ Maiden under a no-nonsense ride from Declan McDonogh.
The filly had to be shaken up to get to the front early but once there she always looked in command. Avizare was the only threat to emerge but the leader stayed on strongly to pull more than three lengths clear.
Said McDonogh: “I went a good gallop to take the sting out of them, as I knew Patrick’s filly (Avizare) had gears, and I wanted to make it a test of stamina. She’ll get a mile and a half plus.”
The Thomond O’Mara-trained Hudson’s Bay carried top weight to victory in the Benchmark Hospitality Handicap, over a mile and six furlongs. Settled in fifth place, more than 20 lengths off the strong gallop being set by Ballyadam Brook, the gelding was brought with a perfectly-timed run by Wayne Lordan, and readily held the late challenge of favourite He’s Our man.
“The trip suited, the ground suited, and he had run well at Galway, though he didn’t handle that track,” said O’Mara.
“That’s as far as he wants to go on the flat, but he’s well-schooled over hurdles.”