Justified highlights McCoy double

Tony McCoy was at his imperious best as he booted home a 35-1 double aboard Justified and Vic Venturi in the two feature races of the day at Fairyhouse.

Tony McCoy was at his imperious best as he booted home a 35-1 double aboard Justified and Vic Venturi in the two feature races of the day at Fairyhouse.

McCoy led from pillar-to-post as 5-1 shot Justified put up a gutsy performance to claim the Grade One Powers Gold Cup.

Eamonn Sheehy’s charge was tackling the two-and-a-half-mile trip for the first time and despite jumping left throughout, the seven-year-old still had enough in the tank to see off the 7-4 favourite In Compliance by three lengths.

Given a typically positive ride from McCoy, the gelding, who had to miss the Arkle at Cheltenham after scoping badly in the lead up to the race, found more for pressure on the run-in.

However, the race failed to live up to early expectations as Nickname was declared a non-runner and Wild Passion and Missed That were both early casualties.

“The yard has been going through a lean spell and one thing and another has gone wrong,” said Sheehy.

“That’s my first winner since he (Justified) won at Newbury on January 11.

“It’s his first time over the trip but I never felt it would be a problem. We don’t have an explanation as to why he jumped left though.

“He’s in the Kerrygold Champion Chase and the Swordlestown Cup Novice at Punchestown and I suppose he’ll go for the novice race but I wouldn’t rule out the Kerrygold either, he likes the track.

“Tony said he had plenty of horse left at the finish.”

McCoy had struck earlier on Philip Fenton’s Vic Venturi, the 5-1 winner of the Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Festival Novice Hurdle.

The race had looked at the mercy of 9-4 favourite Mounthenry beforehand after his previous two victories at the same grade but he had no answer to Vic Venturi’s change of gear.

Although McCoy’s mount jumped left at last, he quickened up in smart style after the final flight to give Fenton a repeat victory after his success with Sher Beau 12 months ago.

“That’s Tony’s first ride for me,” said Fenton.

“Davy Russell has done all the work on the horse at home but he knew he would have to ride (third-placed) Thyne Again so I was delighted when McCoy became available.

“The horse didn’t help AP by jumping left throughout and he looked to have it all to do turning in but he battled on well.

“I gave him a three-week break after he finished second at Naas on his last run and he really blossomed during it.

“We’ll treat Punchestown with caution now, we’ll see how he comes out of this.

“He’ll go over fences next year. He’s already schooled on the racecourse and he has won a point-to-point.”

Although Mounthenry was out of luck, his trainer Charles Byrnes did get a winner on the board as Cailin Alainn took the Grade Three Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund (Mares) Novice Hurdle Championship Final.

Celestial Wave was sent off the 7-4 favourite and despite a brave attempt to make all, she could not hold off the late thrust of Cailin Alainn.

“She loved this better ground,” said Byrnes of the 12-1 winner.

“She’s a big galloping mare and the better surface suited her down to the ground.”

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