Versatile veteran He’llberemembered, ridden by Jonathan Burke, was awarded the featured Free Festival Upgrade Ticket Offer Hurdle in bizarre circumstances in Punchestown yesterday.
Paul Fahey’s charge was beaten a head by Sadler’s Risk in a tremendous battle for the two-and-a-half mile contest. But the 33/1 shot was subsequently awarded the race when it was discovered that the ‘winner’ had carried the incorrect weight.
Andrew Lynch, rider of Sadler’s Risk, weighed in light. But, when the matter was investigated, it was discovered that Lynch was passed by Clerk of the Scales Ian Hamilton to carry 156.3lb., almost 4lb. less than his stipulated burden.
There have been plenty of situations in which riders have weighed in light, for a variety of reasons. But this incident was a rarity, as a Turf Club official apparently weighed Lynch out at the wrong weight.
The Stewards held an enquiry into the incident and, because Sadler’s Risk carried the incorrect weight, had no option but to disqualify him, no matter where the blame lay and they referred to the matter to the Turf Club for “a full investigation”.
Before the shock news of the enquiry and later disqualification, Henry de Bromhead had nominated the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival as the long-term target for Sadler’s Risk, before being trained for the Galway Plate while Paul Fahey is preparing He’llberemembered for a repeat bid in the Leopardstown Chase.
Fourth in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown on Saturday, The Job Is Right showed no ill effects when turning over 4/6 favourite As De Ferbet in the opening three mile, one furlong beginners chase.
Ridden by Mark Enright, the blinkered six-year-old edged ahead before the final fence and stayed on to score by a length and a half, prompting Hourigan to explain: “Mark said he was asleep but, when he woke him up, he was good. We took a chance running him again so soon after Leopardstown. But he lost no weight, was fine and fresh in himself the following morning and, when I saw the small field, it was worth having a crack at it.
“He wants every yard of three miles plus and I’ve had the four-miler in Cheltenham in my head for him.”
After tremendous success at Leopardstown over Christmas, Gigginstown House Stud struck again in the three-year-old hurdle, not with 9/10 favourite Petite Parisienne (Bryan Cooper) but with 12/1 shot Chatham House Rule, enterprisingly ridden by Davy Condon to poach a big lead before holding the favourite by two and three-quarter lengths.
Condon, who rode the winner for Gordon Elliott, stated: “He made the running on the flat and enjoys being out in front. They gave me an easy lead and apart from missing a couple, he jumped well.
“He’s a bit of a head-banger of a horse and nearly got way on him going to the start,” admitted trainer Tom Mullins after 6/4 favourite Indian Rupee, ridden by his son David (his second win as a professional), made all to land the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.
“But he got half an easy lead and David was able to give him a couple of breathers, added Mullins, who trains the gelding for his wife Helen. “If he learns to settle, he’ll be grand. He’s well-schooled over fences and will stay two and a half miles. But we won’t be in a rush with him.”
The colours of J P McManus were in the winner’s enclosure after both handicaps on the card – the Christy Roche-trained Golden Ticket (Jody McGarvey) got the better of Heavenly Brook in the Punchestow.com Handicap Chase before Sort It Out, ridden for Eddie Harty by Mark Walsh and backed from 20/1 to 10/1, proved two lengths superior to favourite Gallant Oscar in the Buy Your Tickets Online Handicap Hurdle.
Harty commented: “It’s been a miserable enough year, so that was a nice way to finish it. This fellow lost his way at the back-end of last season and my horses were not right. So it’s good that he’s back. I have no plan for him – we’ll just savour today.”
The honour of training the final winner of 2014 fell to Noel Meade whose even money favourite Bonny Kate made all to open her account in the mares bumper. “She’s worth her weight in gold,” said Meade about Nina Carberry, who partnered the full-sister to Mala Beach to victory.
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