Monday 19 March 2018

Bentelimar scores for Barry

Bentelimar jumps the last to win at Punchestown
Bentelimar jumps the last to win at Punchestown

The Shay Barry-trained Bentelimar claimed Listed honours in the I.N.H. Stallion Owners European Breeders Fund Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.

A winner at Killarney, Wexford and Leopardstown in 2014, Bentelimar was 4-1 shot stepped up in class in the hands of Brian O'Connell.

After tracking the pacesetting O Ceallaigh for most of the way, Barry's charge found top gear and swept to the lead rounding the turn for home.

He was a little slow at the final flight, but quickly picked up again and was well on top at the end.

All Hell Let Loose was best of the rest in second, with the Mullins pair of Aminabad and Avant Tout both failing to get competitive.

"He was getting under them a bit today. I think he's a fairly nice horse," said Barry.

"He came on a good bit from Leopardstown. He was dropping back to two miles and Brian said he's not slow.

"He's got a few entries at Cheltenham in the novices and we'll see. I think the handicaps close next week and we might put him in a couple of them.

"He's a lad to look forward to. He wouldn't want it too deep and likes a bit of nice ground.

"Fair play to Philip (Fenton) for sending him my way."

November Handicap hero Open Eagle could finish only third on his jumping debut in the Michael Fitzpatrick Memorial Maiden Hurdle as the Sandra Hughes-trained Total Recall claimed victory under Bryan Cooper.

Open Eagle was unsurprisingly all the rage as the 8-13 favourite for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh, but did not jump with great fluency and had to make do with minor honours behind 11-2 chance Total Recall.

"He's very tough. He needs a good gallop so Bryan went on - he stays forever," said Hughes.

"He doesn't mind that ground and will have no problem stepping up in trip.

"We'll see how he is after that and then make a plan."

Embracing Change (7-2 favourite) was a comfortable winner of the Claim Your Free Trial At Grand National Trial for trainer Robert Tyner and jockey Phillip Enright.

The trainer's wife, Mary Tyner, said: "If we can find another long-distance race, something similar, he'll go for it.

"He enjoyed it today on the ground. The bit of extra distance makes it easier for him - it's the trip he needs."

Lean Araig (11-1) edged out hot favourite Mydor in a pulsating climax to the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle, while Gordon Elliott's point-to-point winner General Principle annihilated his rivals as the even-money favourite for the bumper.

"He's a lovely horse and obviously has a big future," said Elliott's assistant Olly Murphy.

"We haven't had him very long. He may have one more run in a bumper as we wouldn't want to lose his novice status (over hurdles) this season.

"I wouldn't imagine he'd go to Cheltenham."

Odds-on favourite Quantitativeeasing proved a bitter disappointment as Peter Maher's point-to-pointer Ballyboker Bridge clinched a 20-1 victory in the P.P. Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase.

Press Association

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