Barry Gerathy and JP McManus double up as Sutton Place wins Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse
Barry Geraghty and JP McManus swiftly doubled up as Sutton Place completed a hat-trick in the Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Novice Hurdle.
The winner of a Fairyhouse bumper and a Listed novice hurdle at Naas since the turn of the year, Gordon Elliott's charge was the 13-8 favourite stepped up to Grade Two level.
Geraghty was getting lower in the saddle rounding the home turn and he looked booked for minor honours when a bad mistake at the final flight handed the initiative to the strong-travelling Royal Caviar, whom he had beaten comprehensively three weeks ago.
However, not for the first time, Royal Caviar found little when asked for maximum effort and Sutton Place battled back tenaciously to prevail by half a length. Moon Over Germany was 10 lengths back in third.
"He's a nice horse. He was very green and I'd imagine that will probably be him for the year. He'll be a nice horse with a summer's grass," said Elliott.
"He did everything to get beat. Barry said it was a faster gallop than the last day and he's still a baby and very green. He kicked a few hurdles out of the ground.
"To come back and win after that mistake at the last - I'd say he's a nice horse. I'd imagine he'll go chasing next year."
Slowmotion got favourite-backers off to a flying start in the Easter Monday opener at Fairyhouse with an impressive victory in the REA Grimes Property Consultants Juvenile Hurdle.
Aidan O'Brien's French recruit suffered a short-priced reverse when touched off on her Irish debut at Limerick a fortnight ago and she was a 2-1 market leader to recoup those losses.
Tocororo took the eight-strong field along for much of the two-mile journey, but the pack closed up before the home turn and Barry Geraghty remained an unmoved figure in the saddle aboard Slowmotion.
Rashaan did his best to make a race of it, but the O'Brien filly had too many gears, quickening up well from the final flight to score by seven lengths.
The trainer's son, Joseph, has been credited with preparing his National Hunt string and will officially get a training licence this spring.
"She was probably a little bit fresh in Limerick and we might have left her a little short," said O'Brien junior. "She looked like she was going to win everywhere but probably blew up a little at the back of the last. She improved a lot from that.
"She was very good today. She settled brilliantly and jumped very well. She handles an ease in the ground and should stay well. She's a very exciting filly. We'll see how she comes out of this and I'll talk to JP (McManus) and Frank (Berry, racing manager).
"She probably doesn't have to run again but if she does Punchestown would be the logical target."
On getting his licence, O'Brien added: "The course is in May. It's three days over three weeks and hopefully I'll have the licence by the end of May."