McKinley tore up the script as he floored his Willie Mullins-trained stablemate Tell Us More to cause a big upset in the Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle at Naas yesterday.
Pulled up in the Grade One Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown just a week earlier, the 33-1 shot collared long-time leader Tell Us More, the 4-5 favourite, on the run-in to get home by three-quarters of a length under Paul Townend.
The first two carried the colours of Gigginstown House stud, while JP McManus’ Free Expression, who, like Tell Us More, was losing his 100 per cent record, was third in the first Grade One ever staged at Naas.
“This fellow is improving all the time, but I didn’t think he had improved that much,” Mullins said of the winner.
“Paul gave him a great ride. The improvement I’ve seen in his homework is vindicated.”
Mullins will consider going back in distance with Tell Us More, who could renew rivalry with McKinley in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown.
The County Carlow handler, who also saddled the sixth-placed Killer Crow, said: “Tell Us More jumped fantastic and raced great.
“He probably had to do all the donkey work and that probably just told. We’ll look at the Deloitte now for them. There are a few novice hurdles around and we’ll see how they come out of that and see how next week’s novices get on.”
McKinley was introduced at 20-1 for the Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle with RaceBets, while Tell Us More is out from 6-1 to 10-1 joint-favourite for the same race.
Sizing Granite (7-2) returned to winning ways with a hard-fought success in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase.
Victorious on his fencing debut over this course and distance two months ago, Henry de Bromhead’s seven-year-old had unseated his rider Johnny Burke in a Grade Two event at Punchestown.
He made amends in the hands of 3lb claimer when outpointing Fine Rightly by two and a quarter lengths.
“That was good under the penalty, although we had Johnny’s claim as well,” said de Bromhead. “He was very disappointing the last day and I think I ran him back too soon as it was only two weeks since his previous run.
“He’ll get a long break before his next run and we’ll stick to two miles.”
Trainer Robert Tyner enjoyed a double with the Phillip Enright-ridden Leap Dearg (5-2 favourite) in the Panoramic Restaurant At Naas Handicap Chase and Whatwillwecallher (4-6 favourite), who overcame a 1148-day absence under Tony McCoy in the Irish Stallion EBF Mares Beginners Chase.
Lisclogher Lad (6-1) dug deep to turn over 1-7 favourite Fort Smith in the Annual Membership At Naas Maiden Hurdle for 3lb claimer Stephen Gray and trainer Sean Walsh.
High Expectations (11-2) was kept up to his work by David Mullins to claim the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle for trainer Gordon Elliott.
Harry Kelly’s Sir Will (7-4 favourite) made a winning debut in the bumper after market rival Kalopsia was withdrawn as rider Sarah O’Brien appeared to hurt a shoulder when mounting the four-year-old, trained by her father, Aidan.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved