Frustrating 'Gorbatov' ends three-year famine for O'Brien
It has been a long time coming, 1,134 days and 24 runs to be precise, but 2016 Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov (11/1) finally made it back to the winner's enclosure at Fairyhouse yesterday.
Not since that Cheltenham Festival success - when edging out subsequent ten-time Grade One winner Apple's Jade - has Joseph O'Brien's charge prevailed but he was back to his best to land the RYBO Handicap Hurdle at the Meath track.
The seven-year-old came here after a gallant third in the Ladbrokes Hurdle and was always going best for JJ Slevin to take the tasty €100,000 pot from Tony Martin's Tudor City (8/1).
"When things fall his way he's a good horse and when things don't go his way he tends to sulk a little bit and he gives up. Thankfully, things fell his way," O'Brien said.
"He was working well but you don't know what you're going to get with him. JJ gave the horse a fantastic ride. He's strong as an ox. He's a big help to us, he works every single day."
Willie Mullins followed up his Irish Grand National victory when Camelia De Cotte (13/8 favourite) made it six wins over fences - all in the hands of Paul Townend - leading from pillar to post in the Grade Three Mares' chase.
Stablemate Pravalaguna (2/1) was next best five-and-a-half lengths back in second but it was all about the winner, although Townend isn't sure if next week's Punchestown Festival may come a little too soon for her.
"She would probably be entitled to go to Punchestown, she is hard on herself is the only thing. We'll see how she comes out of it," he said.
Rachael Blackmore had another action-packed day as the Tipperary jockey landed a double aboard Or Jaune De Somoza (7/4 favourite) in the beginners' chase and Surf Instructor (5/1) in the Ladies National.
Both were for Waterford trainer Henry de Bromhead, with whom she has developed a fruitful partnership, but it was on De Bromhead's Insult that she took a crushing fall from in the novice handicap hurdle which saw her stood down for the remainder of the day, although it is believed her injuries are not serious.
It was a disappointing Easter Festival for Gordon Elliott - although Ucello Conti (7/2 favourite) did oblige in the penultimate hunters chase - but the Meath trainer is seeking some compensation in Perth today. The Cullentra handler sends four runners - three of which will be ridden by UK champion jumps jockey Richard Johnson and the other by crack Wexford amateur Barry O'Neill - to the Scottish track where he has enjoyed great success in his career.
Meanwhile, Dundalk is the Irish focus today where De Bromhead's Queen Guanhumara is selected to take the maiden (6.40) with the Camelot filly expected to come forward from her seasonal debut at Leopardstown.