Red-hot Geraghty out on his Own
Published 01/05/2014 | 19:42
God's Own came with a withering late run in the hands of Barry Geraghty to spring a huge surprise in the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown.
The two-mile Grade One appeared a good opportunity for Arkle Trophy runner-up Champagne Fever to regain winning ways for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh and the 5-4 favourite was soon bowling along towards the head of affairs, but was never allowed to dictate matters, firstly being pressed by Arnaud until Alan King's Aintree winner Balder Succes ranged up to challenge leaving the back straight.
The big two swung for home ready to fight it out, but first Champagne Fever dropped away and then outsiders God's Own and Moscow Mannon began to bridge the gap.
Balder Succes did his best to fend them off, but having benefited from more patient rides, that pair went to the front after the final fence and it was 25-1 shot God's Own who got the better of 20-1 chance Moscow Mannon by half a length.
Balder Succes ran with plenty of credit in third, but Champagne Fever was ultimately disappointing.
Geraghty said: "We went plenty quick and I was always close enough but I was on the stretch a little bit. He was a little bit slow three out but I was still hopeful and he pinged the last and it won the race for him.
"I had a question mark about Champagne Fever going into the race and all we could do was follow him and try to beat him and thankfully we beat him today."
Gloucestershire-based George said: "He had a couple of lengths to find with Balder Succes on his Kempton run earlier in the season, but we knew he'd be a better horse in the spring and we were happier coming here.
"We purposely hadn't run him (since February), so he'd be a novice for next season. Barry was excellent on him, but I'm sorry for Paddy Brennan who has done all the work on him.
"He was a very hard horse when he was a young horse and has taken a lot of handling, but he was always very talented and we knew he'd be very good. He's a stayer and he'll get further in time. He's almost half-mad and Barry said he goes down to the last and he really wants to do it."
It was a welcome change of luck for the trainer after stable star Module had to be pulled up in Tuesday's Boylesports.com Champion Chase having being badly hampered by the fall of Hidden Cyclone.
He said: "This week hasn't really gone our way so far and I said to Barry beforehand, 'let's try and complete the course on this one!'"