'Cliste' lunges late to land Ulster National
Prolific point-to-point winner Anseanachai Cliste overcame being wrong at the weights to land a thrilling renewal of the Toals Bookmakers Ulster National at Downpatrick yesterday.
Having run up a sequence of eight victories, Stephen McConville's nine-year-old, owned by his son Michael, made a successful switch under Rules to take the €15,375 first prize in the hands of 5lb claimer Dylan Robinson.
Definite Ruby looked the likely winner when leading over the final fence, but Anseanachai Cliste found more on the dash to the line to prevail by a head from Tulsa Jack, with Georges Conn in third.
County Armagh-based McConville said: "He's one of these horses that just keeps galloping and staying. We had this race on our mind. We thought he might be very low in the handicap.
"We were running out of the handicap today thinking we maybe still had a chance. It worked out well."
The 8/1 winner had been an intended runner in the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but was withdrawn at the request of the stewards, with the matter referred to the British Horseracing Authority.
McConville added: "I wouldn't like to talk about Cheltenham at the moment. We'll see after the inquiry. We are here to enjoy the day.
"It worked out well. He just gallops and stays and showed that in the point-to-points and winning the four-miler in Kinsale. He had a wee setback early on and we didn't get him back until the Armagh point-to-point. After that things were coming together for him so we decided to come here."
The bumper threw up a very interesting winner in Dawn Shadow (9/2) which saw off favourite Coeur De Beauchene by 11 lengths for Dot Love. A daughter of the very useful Shadow Eile, which Love used to train, she didn't need to be asked a question by jockey Aaron Murphy to coast home.
Well-backed second market-choice, Camaro, failed to come up to expectations and he finished last.