Sport Cheltenham

Sunday 21 September 2014

Boy floors Place in RSA thriller

Published 12/03/2014 | 14:34

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CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Barry Geraghty riding O'Faolains Boy (L) clear the last to win The RSA Steeple Chase from Smad Place (R) at Cheltenham racecourse on March 12, 2014 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Barry Geraghty riding O'Faolains Boy (L) clear the last to win The RSA Steeple Chase from Smad Place (R) at Cheltenham racecourse on March 12, 2014 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

O'Faolains Boy came up trumps in a titanic duel with Smad Place for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

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The Barry Geraghty-ridden seven-year-old (12-1) found just a little more when it mattered to take the Grade One by a neck for the Rebecca Curtis team.

Irish challenger Morning Assembly finished third.

Corrin Wood made most of the running, but his challenge weakened at the top of the home straight once the pace accelerated.

Several horses came to grief as a consequence of the heightened tempo, but Ballycasey, the 13-2 joint-favourite, appeared in a vigilant mood as he was nudged into the lead three fences from home.

Ruby Walsh's companion suddenly began to tread water, though, as fellow market leader Smad Place leapt purposefully towards the head of affairs two out.

But O'Faolains Boy was never far away, and a crisp jump at the last then put Geraghty in pole position.

An absorbing tussle ensued, but Curtis' inmate grasped the moment with a lunging drive inside the final 150 yards.

Geraghty said: "He just ran in snatches a little bit. He didn't jump as well as he did in Ascot.

"I was never happy and never thought I'd win, but in the last mile he started to come alive a little bit. He got there, slightly under sufferance

"There's improvement in him. He didn't feel as good today as he did at Ascot for some reason and he didn't sparkle, but he's still won."

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