Taaffe relieved to have finger back on the pulse
FORMER Galway Plate winner Finger Onthe Pulse ended a very lean spell for trainer Tom Taaffe when making all to take the Southampton Goodwill Chase at Listowel yesterday.
The 9/4 chance jumped superbly for Mark Walsh and kept on well in the straight to hold the challenge of the well-supported 11/8 favourite For Bill by a length and a quarter with Free World weakening to finish a well beaten third.
This was the Straffan handler's first winner since Steeltown won at Roscommon 12 months ago and he was obviously relieved afterwards.
Taaffe said: "We had two viruses in a row, but are out of the trenches and ready to fight again -- hopefully we can build on this. This has been a great horse for us winning a Jewson at Cheltenham and a Galway Plate."
Laganbank looks like being another exciting member of the powerful Willie Mullins team, judged on his authoritative success in the South West Bins Novice Hurdle.
He was held-up in last place by Ruby Walsh in the early stages of the race before getting into a challenging position with the minimum of fuss.
He ranged menacingly alongside fellow 7/4 joint-favourite Alderwood and got the better of his rival without being fully extended to win by a length.
Mullins said: "There is a race at Tipperary in a few weeks, but that may come a bit too soon, and his main target is probably the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse. He shows a lot at home and has the size and scope to improve."
Walsh, having his second winner since returning from injury, believes Laganbank is one to follow. "He's an exciting horse for the future," he said.
Viaduct Joey opened his account when staying on well in the straight to land the John J Galvin Maiden Hurdle under Tom Doyle.
The Terence O'Brien-trained 7/2 chance struck the front entering the straight and was soon driven clear by Doyle, keeping on well to readily hold the challenge of well-backed 2/1 favourite Cairdin by four lengths.
Christy Roche's Park Ranger appreciated the testing conditions when swooping late under Fran Berry to take the featured €40,000 Guinness Handicap.
The five-year-old High Chaparral gelding looked in a bit of trouble when meeting some trouble in running entering the straight, but he powered home to such effect that he'd two and a quarter lengths to spare over Star Links at the line, with favourite Hisaabaat back in third.
Pat Flynn's Bonnie Acclamation became the first horse to score twice at this year's Festival when justifying odds of 5/6 under Danny Grant in the John & Terry Moriarty Memorial Handicap.