Our Vinnie's late rally denies Pride Ofthe Parish at the post
Our Vinnie edged out the Willie Mullins-trained hot favourite Pride Ofthe Parish in a pulsating finish to the Liberty Insurance Novice Hurdle at Limerick.
The latter was an 8/15 market leader following a bloodless victory at Fairyhouse earlier this month and he tracked 2/1 shot Our Vinnie into the home straight, with the pair miles clear of the remainder.
Favourite backers looked sure to collect when a minor mistake from Our Vinnie at the final obstacle handed Pride Ofthe Parish the advantage, but the Charles Byrnes-trained winner rallied gamely in the hands of Niall Madden and there was little to choose between the pair passing the post.
The photo revealed Our Vinnie had got back up to take the Grade Three prize by a short-head and Stan James cut him to 14/1 from 20/1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Madden said: "Our Vinnie is very genuine and tough. He pecked at the back of the last, but picked up well on the run-in."
Byrnes went on to complete a double as Dazzlers Day (20/1) claimed the Ryans Cleaning Handicap Hurdle under Rob Jones.
Despite being so narrowly denied on Pride Ofthe Parish in the feature event, Townend still enjoyed a double on the card.
The Mullins-trained 1/2 favourite Dogora kicked off the brace when making a most impressive Irish debut in the opening juvenile hurdle, earning a 33/1 quote with Stan James for the Triumph Hurdle.
Townend said: "He was very professional and he jumped very well. He couldn't have done it any nicer."
The Cork rider followed up in the two-mile-five-furlong maiden hurdle aboard 3/1 shot Castlerock Rose, a first winner for Cork-based trainer Dan Rohan.
However, Townend had to settle for another runner-up finish on a Mullins-trained favourite as Turban came off second best in a battle with Beeverstown in the Irish Independent Beginners Chase.
The Edward O'Connell-owned Turban had tracked six-year-old Beeverstown coming to the final fence and looked poised to win, but he pecked on landing and couldn't regain momentum.
Beeverstown and Robbie McNamara had led from flagfall and the winner's trainer Jim Culloty commented: "He's a great horse and he jumped well, and he obviously handles the ground.
"Robbie gave him a great ride – he nicked 20 lengths at the start and he let him go to sleep for the rest of the race."