Monday 20 November 2017

Curtis claims maiden Irish success at Naas with 'Knight'

Mystical Knight and Barry Geraghty clears the last hurdle. Photo: Healy Racing
Mystical Knight and Barry Geraghty clears the last hurdle. Photo: Healy Racing
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Rebecca Curtis orchestrated a successful Navan venture from her Welsh base when Mystical Knight rallied gamely to take the near three-mile novices' hurdle for Barry Geraghty.

Curtis's other runner also departed with prize money, Imagine The Chat taking third in the valuable novices' handicap chase. However, JP McManus's 2/1 shot Mystical Knight departed with twice as much when collecting the €10,455 winner's share in the preceding race.

Curtis was represented by her partner Gearoid Costelloe . "It's Rebecca's first Irish winner and it's nice to have it for JP as he's such a great supporter of ours," Costelloe said. "He'll make a lovely chaser next season. He quickened up really well."

Mystical Knight overhauled the odds-on General Principle, whose rider Bryan Cooper also had the misfortune of choosing the wrong one in the earlier maiden hurdle. Cooper opted for the odds-on Paul Rooney-owned Kashmiri Sunset, but was left ruing his decision when its Gordon Elliott-trained stable-mate Crest thwarted him under Jack Kennedy in the colours of Cooper's Gigginstown Stud employers.

"That's a little bit of a surprise, but it's nice to get a surprise like that," admitted Elliott's representative Simon McGonagle. "I thought the favourite would take all the beating."

The €50,000 feature went to Kilford, which was winning at the track for a second time in a row. Luke Dempsey made all on Leonard Whitmore's 4/1 shot and readily saw off the well-backed Geraghty-ridden favourite Oscar Knight by 10 lengths.

"It was a good performance under top-weight," Whitmore said of the win. "He's entered in the Irish National, and he might get in now with a light weight."

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