Cooper gets White Star Line home for emotional triumph
WHITE STAR LINE dug deep for Bryan Cooper to run out a poignant winner of the Wilderness Chase at Clonmel.
The nine-year-old carries the familiar colours of popular owner Patsy Byrne, who died suddenly at the end of September just weeks after White Star Line had given him a huge thrill when winning the Kerry National at Listowel.
Sent off a 4/5 favourite for this four-runner conditions event, Dessie Hughes' charge travelled strongly for much of the two-and-a-half-mile journey, but had to be pushed along to take the lead rounding the home turn.
Make A Track threatened to make a real race of it, but a mistake at the second-last put paid to his chances and White Star Line pulled clear to secure a two-length verdict.
The Betfred Becher Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree on December 7 could be next on the winner's agenda.
"He wants three miles and I didn't want to get done for toe coming down the hill so I sent him on," reported Cooper.
"He jumped great and he did the job well. I think there could be another big one in him. A staying chase over three miles plus would be right up his alley.
"He's only starting to show the ability now that he has, especially after getting his head in front."
Gallant Tipp was made to work hard to justify 11/10 favouritism in the Cashel Maiden Hurdle, eventually seeing off Wilde Sapphire by three lengths.
Winning trainer Edward O'Grady said: "He had a fall schooling last week and didn't jump as fluently as I'd hoped or as he can."
Trainer John Joe Walsh and jockey Ambrose McCurtin enjoyed a double, winning the Cahir Mares Maiden Hurdle with Love On Top (7/1) and the Powerstown Demesne (QR) Handicap Hurdle with Hard Bought (9/1).