Bolger lands big Leopardstown prize
Published 25/01/2014 | 16:42
Enda Bolger's Gilgamboa defied his inexperience to win the fiercely-competitive Boylesports.com Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Having just his fourth start under Rules, the JP McManus-owned six-year-old was in the perfect position throughout for Mark Walsh.
Turning in he had just Flaxen Flare in front of him but then the Tony Martin-trained favourite Quick Jack loomed up looking a huge threat.
His run flattened out, though, and Gilgamboa (10-1) stuck on well to win going away by a length and a quarter from Flaxen Flare. Quick Jack finished third with a big gap back to Sea Light in fourth.
Bolger, better known for his handling of cross-country specialists, said: "He's an exciting horse. We started off point-to-pointing with him in Lemonfield on JT's (John Thomas McNamara) day and then we decided we'd go to Galway with him and he just kept on improving - that was only his fourth race.
"He's named after a very good friend of Kieran McManus's, Gil in America, and he's looking in as well so it's great.
"I'm delighted for JP - the reason I'm here is because of him. We'll consider Cheltenham, but today was the plan really and it worked out.
"Chasing will be his game down the road. He even jumps hurdles like fences. He'd have been some certainty in a Ladies' Cup!"
Walsh said: "Everything went perfect. I got out nice and handy, and got a nice bit of light for him.
"I was always happy with where I was. He travelled brilliantly, hands and heels, and took it up into the straight - he was so professional for a horse only having his fourth run.
"Enda has done a brilliant job with him - he has improved with every run. He's a pleasure to ride."
Djakadam completed a good few minutes for owner Rich Ricci and trainer Willie Mullins by winning the Boylesports Killiney Novice Chase.
Just moments after star mare Annie Power stretched her unbeaten record to 10 at Doncaster, the five-year-old maintained his perfect start over fences by getting the better of Bright New Dawn.
Dessie Hughes' Bright New Dawn appeared to be holding the upper hand as the pair turned into the straight with Bryan Cooper less active in the saddle than Paul Townend.
However, as Djakadam (6-4 favourite) is only a five-year-old he was getting 11lb off his rivals and it told close home.
Mullins said of his four-length winner: "We'll look at the JLT at Cheltenham.
"He really loves his jumping. I'm not sure if Paul was doing the right thing as he was making lengths at fences down the back and kept pulling him back, but Paul was the man on board out there and did what he thought was the right thing.
"For his second run over fences I thought it was a fantastic effort.
"He really gallops and jumps and it's hard to find good ones like that."
Mullins later teamed up with his son Patrick to win the closing bumper with 2-1 favourite Aminabad.
He'llberemembered (10-1) came with a withering late run to land the valuable Leopardstown Handicap Chase.
The 11-year-old did not appear on the scene until just before the final fence and absolutely flew it in the hands of Shane Butler.
Daring Article had also been given a patient ride and came wide to challenge, but Paul Fahey's consistent gelding just had enough in reserve to hold on.
Fahey said: "He's a great servant. When the heavens opened before the race I knew it was in our favour because when it gets tough this lad gets going.
"He's very, very tough. Shane couldn't believe how well he jumped around there. He jumped poorly in the Kerry National at Listowel and then we said we come back to the scene of the crime as he'd won the Carrickmines around here last year.
"We minded him - gave him a few runs over hurdles - and then he had a run in Tramore last time where he was outclassed.
"I told Shane to go down the inner, the brave route. If he got into trouble he could pull out.
"Shane is getting married to a niece of mine next summer so he'd want a few quid for the wedding.
"When you get a horse that's as tough as that you needn't be afraid to go anywhere with them."