The gelding, a winner on his first start for trainer Henry De Bromhead, back in October, but out of form in four subsequent starts, returned to form with cheekpieces fitted for the first time. Travelling so well was the nine-year-old, Robinson let him stride on before leaving the back-straight and, barring a mistake at the second-last and being long at the last, he gave an exemplary round of jumping en route to a wide-margin victory.
“I just said ‘go out and be positive on him’ and I thought he gave him a super ride,” said De Bromhead, of the winning jockey. “The horse came alight, he let him bowl along, and he broke all their hearts. I’m just so pleased for Dylan, he’s a really good member of our team, a nice guy, a good rider, and this was his first win over fences.
“He rode a few winners on the flat, and came to us last year. He schools really well over fences, so it was nice to get off the mark over them.”
Winning off a 123 here, he would likely need a minimum of 12lbs to harbour any hope of getting into the Galway Plate. De Bromhead, who will have a strong team for that event, including last year’s first and third, Shanahan’s Turn and Sadler’s Risk, and Home Farm, believes this fellow could go to the Galway Blazers’, if he turns up at the festival.
Of Shanahan’s Turn, who has been below his best since last year’s victory, De Bromhead reported: “He’s a bit in and out, but he has always been like that, and even before the Plate last year I thought his run in Killarney was a shocker. I was in two minds about running him at Galway, but he just came alive. He’s a funny horse, but we think we’re getting him back to form now but, obviously, he’s about 10ls higher this year.
“Sadler’s Risk was third last year, and he had a great run the other day (second behind Alelchi Inois at Punchestown) but he’s also a lot higher in the weights.”
Thomond O’Mara’s Hudson’s Bay duly built on the promise of his hurdling debut, when winning the opening maiden in the hands of Philip Enright. A useful sort on the level, with a mark of 84, he could be heading back to Killarney, where he was successful on the flat last year.
“He was a little awkward over his hurdles the last day but, with natural improvement, was a lot slicker today,” said O’Mara. “He’ll go for a novice hurdle on the last day of Killarney (Thursday week), and then on to Galway.”
Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power combined to record a double over fences, when Duckweed proved too good for the gambled-on On Fiddlers Green in the three-mile Supermacs Dooradoyle Chase, and Neverushacon showed the benefit of his chasing debut and a recent spin on the flat when winning the two-mile-one beginners’ chase.
“Three miles is what she wants,” Harrington said of Duckweed. “The last time she ran the trip was on the short side, but we’ll send her back to Kilbeggan for the Midlands National.”
Of Neverushacon, she added: “His chasing debut (at Ballinrobe) was his first run for some time, and he had a wind-op during the winter. He was big, and the gallop he had last week at the Curragh put him right for this.
“He was foot-perfect today, and he probably had to be, as it was a good race. He was always travelling, and Robbie brought him around the outside because he said he’s better with a bit of light.”
Edward O’Grady’s horses continue in fine fettle, and Time For Mabel made light of his task of conceding weight to all of his rivals in the two-mile rated hurdle. Bar being flat-footed at the third-last, he was quick over the obstacles, and eased past long-time leader Bitview Colin when asked to challenge in the closing stages.
The Leslie Young-trained Fleurys Fort completed his hat-trick with a typically gutsy display in the two-mile-five handicap hurdle, responding to Ryan Treacy’s urgings to keep Shake The Bucket at bay.
The seven-race programme closed with the tightest finish of the day as the Seamus Fahey-trained Polar Present got up in the very last stride to consign three-time point to point winner Inchiquin High to a third consecutive runner-up finish in bumpers. The latter traded at 1.03 on the exchanges before succumbing the late surge of Polar Present and jockey JJ Slevin.