Jadanli delivers for Gilligan in thriller
OUTSIDER Jadanli dug deep to hold off a renewed challenge from Tarquinius in a thrilling climax to the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park.
A winner of the Grade One Powers Gold Cup back in 2010, the 11-year-old had been without a win in the interim and was pulled up in the Welsh National earlier this month.
But reunited with Andrew Lynch, the 25/1 longshot was always travelling well and seemed to have the race won when going clear at the second-last, only for Tarquinius to battle back strongly under Davy Condon. In the end, the winning distance was just a head.
McCoy's mount The Westener Boy – gambled into 4/1 joint favourite – came a cropper at the first fence in the home straight with a circuit still left to run, and Walsh lost his battle with gravity after Bishopsfurze made a terrible blunder at the next obstacle.
It was a welcome return to the big time for Galway-based trainer Paul Gilligan, who tasted success at the Cheltenham Festival when Berties Dream won the 2010 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.
"It's a nice pot to win," said Gilligan. "Andrew said he was idling all the way up the straight. We put cheekpieces on him today because he's getting older and getting wiser to the game.
"Saying that, he's a good, tough old warrior. He's had his problems and any time you get a horse back to win a race, be it a Thyestes or any race, is an achievement in itself.
"He came back from leg trouble to win the Powers Gold Cup so we'll see how he is in the morning. All these races help, but when you are a small yard it is nearly always forgotten and that makes it better."
Earlier, Tony Martin's Bog Warrior was cut to 10/1 for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham after he continued his impressive run of form since reverting to timber with a smooth success in the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle.
A Grade One-winning novice chaser last season, a couple of falls in that sphere saw him lose his confidence but wins at Fairyhouse and Punchestown over hurdles have seen him recapture his best.
Davy Russell set out to make all on the 8/11 favourite and while Walsh tracked him on Zaidpour, Bog Warrior was always in control and won by three and a quarter lengths.
"He's a very good horse," Martin said. "I wanted to get today out of the way and things are in the balance as regards Cheltenham. The lads (Gigginstown) have so many horses so we'll see how things pan out.
"He jumped his hurdles a bit big the last day but came down today and he's there as a hurdler or a chaser when we want him.
"The World Hurdle could maybe be a bit too good for him but the ground is also all important and I wouldn't like to see him run on ground too fast."
Walsh was on the mark in the opening juvenile hurdle aboard the Willie Mullins-trained Dogora.
Sent off at 2/5, the four-year-old didn't win in the manner which his price had suggested as he only prevailed in a photo-finish after a titanic battle with Sabrina Harty's Dalasiri.
The lead changed hands a few times in the straight and the favourite was made to pull out all the stops to claim the spoils by a head.
"It was hard work and both horses seemed to idle," said Mullins. "Our fellow is really a chaser and they are two nice horses. I'd prefer to keep him for Fairyhouse but he'll get an entry for the Fred Winter."
The champion trainer was also on the mark in the bumper as his son Patrick steered 2/5 hotpot Sizing Tennessee to a comfortable all-the-way victory in the famous colours of Ann and Alan Potts.
"If he won here we said we'd go to Cheltenham. I'll speak to the owners but I don't think plans will change – a better gallop over there would suit him more," Mullins added.
There was another local success in the handicap chase as Eoin Doyle's Lookoutnow (7/1) galloped his rivals into submission, coming home 16 lengths clear under the guidance of Mikey Butler.
The Ed Stanners-trained Curvacious (11/1) benefited from a positive David Splaine ride to finish over eight lengths clear of favourite Bell Weir in the maiden hurdle, while John Joe Walsh's Rory Anna defied a welter burden to claim the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.
The top-weight only ran at Naas last weekend when third to Tennis Cap and showed no ill-effects from those exertions. Jockey Declan Bates made a positive move some way out abaord the 12/1 chance and she held Barneys Honour at bay by four and a half lengths.
"She ran well at Naas on Saturday but she won easier than we thought she would here," reflected Walsh. "Declan kept her out wide for better ground and she likes a bit of daylight as well. He gave her a smashing ride. It was his first ride for me."