The gutsy seven-year-old Ravished bagged the €40,000 McSweeney Arms Hotel Killarney National for Mouse Morris, Gigginstown House Stud and Bryan Cooper in Killarney last night.
Always close to the pace, the 5/2 favourite battled tenaciously on the run-in to get the better of Federici (Nina Carberry) by a half-length, with Leavethelighton third.
Ravished was defying an 11lb. hike in the ratings for a recent win in Kilbeggan and delighted trainer Morris who explained: “He’s a tough, straight-forward horse. He jumps and gallops – you saw it out there.
“He jumped super – that’s probably what kept him in contention. Bryan was strong on him from the last and gave him a great ride. He seems to like that good ground and, although I’ll have to talk to the lads (the O’Leary brothers), he’ll probably go for the Midlands National in Kilbeggan next.”
Both Nina Carberry and Mikey Butler, who rode the third Leavethelighton, received two-day whip bans.
The Willie Mullins-trained Tennis Cap, in the famous Florida Pearl colours of Archie and Violet O’Leary, justified 5/2 favouritism in the Malton Novice Chase, getting the better of gallant mare Shesaportrait by a length and three-quarters.
The eight-year-old, winner of his beginners in Cork last time, “jumped super” according to winning rider Ruby Walsh,
“I was a little worried about the trip, but he settled well and seemed to get it well. He wasn’t doing a tap when he got to the front,” added Walsh, who was gaining compensation for his defeats on two earlier favourites.
Charles Byrnes quipped: “The non-runners made it handy and we’re not getting carried away,” after the J P McManus-owned 2/1 favourite Leave At Dawn, ridden by Mark Walsh, landed the Killarney Outlook Publications Handicap Hurdle in emphatic style, getting the better of Sardinia by a length and three-quarters.
“He wouldn’t want the ground any quicker and will probably be let off for the summer. He’s only five and I’d say he’ll stay hurdling next winter,” explained Byrnes.
Shock of the evening came in the Laurel’s Pub & Restaurant Hurdle when 40/1 shot Miley Shah under a well-judged ride from Mikey Fogarty, turned over uneasy 5/6 favourite Ted Veale and Ruby Walsh by a length and three-quarters.
Third Opinion stretched into a clear lead and Fogarty was soon well ahead of the pack on the winner, ultimately reeling in the leader before the second last before tiring on the run-in but holding on to triumph for trainer Joe Kenny. From Tullow in County Carlow.
Davy Russell followed-up Sunday’s double when bringing Edmund Kent’s well-backed mare Star Counsel from last to first to foil The Gatechecker and favourite Childrens List in the M D O’Shea Maiden Hurdle.
The delighted owner-trainer declared: “Davy’s a great jockey and I knew he’d suit her. You can’t bully her and have to let her do things in her own time. She’s won a bumper and a hurdle and we’ll keep her going as long as the ground allows us.”
Ballynoe-based Padraig Higgins tasted success “inside the rails” for the first time when Gentle Cloud, ridden by Johnny Barry, proved a lucky winner of the Dan Linehan’s Bar And B & B Hunters Chase.
Favourite Seventh Sign, ridden for Adrian Maguire by his teenage son Finny, was clear and appeared to have the race in safe-keeping when taking a crashing and fatal fall at the final fence.
Higgins explained: “He got the virus very bad after running in Dungarvan in February. He was going to run in Mallow but got a cut on his leg. He missed work and I didn’t know if he was fit enough to win tonight. He’s a tough horse and, if he’s okay in the morning, will go to Listowel on the Whit weekend.” Gentle Cloud prevailed by eight and a half lengths from top-weight Warne.
“Even the owners aren’t here!” stated trainer John Joe Walsh after 12/1 shot Monasteradenpauric came through under Brian O’Connell to outstay Exxaro and Macs Legend, which had disputed the lead for most of the journey, in the opening Killarney Vintners Maiden Hurdle. He added: “The ground has dried out since yesterday and I thought he wanted it softer. He jumped well, got into his stride and stayed on well. Brian has been lucky for us.”
Walsh completed a 441/1 double when Le Legro (33/1) came from off the pace to beat Military King in the lady riders’ bumper, an outcome which drew great praise from the trainer for winning rider Maxine O’Sullivan: “I told Maxine to sit and wait and keep him relaxed. She gave him a great ride and came wide for the better ground. When this horse ran before, in Mallow, he just couldn’t handle the heavy ground.”
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