Tuesday 17 September 2019

Big Stephen's Day shock as Ruby Walsh and Getabird taken down by Hardline after error at final fence

9 December 2018; Getabird, with Ruby Walsh up, on their way to winning the GAIN Supporting Laois GAA Beginners Steeplechase at Punchestown Racecourse in Naas, Co. Kildare. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
9 December 2018; Getabird, with Ruby Walsh up, on their way to winning the GAIN Supporting Laois GAA Beginners Steeplechase at Punchestown Racecourse in Naas, Co. Kildare. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Hardline capitalised on a mistake by the odds-on Getabird at the final fence to take the Grade One spoils in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase at Limerick.

Getabird had jumped well in the main for Ruby Walsh until he reached for the second-last, as the Gordon Elliott-trained Hardline loomed large.

Coming to the final fence it still looked as though Getabird would prevail, but the 8-15 favourite got in too close to the obstacle and landed awkwardly.

That proved decisive, with Keith Donoghue grabbing the opportunity with both hands and pushing Hardline (9-2) into the lead.

Getabird rallied, but Willie Mullins' charge could not close the gap and was half a length down at the line.

Donoghue was winning his first Grade One and said: "It is a great feeling. I have missed a couple of Grade Ones through weight and getting taken off ones and with injury, so it's great to get that first one.

"I knew I was going well, but you never know with Ruby what he is holding on. I got a good jump at the second-last and I squeezed him down to the last and knew if I got a good jump here I had every chance.

"Ruby missed it a little, but he had plenty of time to come back at me and I was always holding him."

He added: "We knew he'd stay, he travelled and jumped everywhere and galloped all the way to the line.

"Only for Gordon I wouldn't be in this position and obviously thanks to Gigginstown (House Stud) also for putting me up."

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