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Bolger bags opening honours as Punchestown Festival gets underway

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Zest for Life under jockey Timothy Donworth races through the water feature in the Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase for the Ladies Perpetual Cup during the Boylesports Day at the 2013 Festival at Punchestown Racecourse

Zest for Life under jockey Timothy Donworth races through the water feature in the Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase for the Ladies Perpetual Cup during the Boylesports Day at the 2013 Festival at Punchestown Racecourse

PA

Zest for Life under jockey Timothy Donworth races through the water feature in the Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase for the Ladies Perpetual Cup during the Boylesports Day at the 2013 Festival at Punchestown Racecourse

ENDA BOLGER claimed his third win in the last four runnings of the Kildare Hunt Club FR Sean Breen Memorial Chase as Zest For Life took top honours in the traditional curtain-raiser to the Punchestown Festival.

Run for the Ladies Perpetual Cup, the three-mile heat is contested around the cross-country circuit, a discipline at which Bolger excels.

Zest For Life was just one of four runners for the cross-country king, with Mount Sion, Keep On Track and red-hot 7-4 favourite Near Perfection in the field - but the latter parted company with Kevin Power at a very early stage when going through the water-splash.

Zest For Life (4-1) , winner of this race in 2010, appeared to be enjoying himself from an early stage and kicked clear from the home turn under 18-year-old rider Tim Donworth to score by seven and a half lengths from Lord Hawkfield.

Bolger said: "That was very nice. It's the jockey's first winner - he hadn't even ridden a winner of a point-to-point, so I'm chuffed for him.

"He could come back here for the cross-country race on Saturday and I might take him to France as there's a good race at Le Lion D'Angers at the end of May."

PA Media