Saturday 20 January 2018

Harty delight as Captain turns tables on Rebel

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

REBEL FITZ'S ascent up the ranks came to an abrupt halt at Tipperary when the classy Galway Hurdle hero failed dismally to confirm his recent superiority over the veteran Captain Cee Bee in the Grade Two hurdle.

When the duo clashed over course and distance in July, Mick Winters' exciting seven-year-old recorded an authoritative triumph over his 11-year-old rival, before then emerging three lengths to the good on the occasion of that dramatic Ballybrit victory.

Off identical terms yesterday, however, he crumpled under a starting price of 4/6, as Eddie Harty's JP McManus-owned stalwart surged 11 lengths clear for Mark Walsh.

Successful on the Flat at the Curragh during the summer, this was the 12th time in all that the 2008 Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner crossed the line in front.

"I'll be lucky to ever have as good a horse again," Harty admitted afterwards of Captain Cee Bee. "He missed the break at Galway and he is a horse that hasn't always got the credit he deserves. Plans are fluid now, but he has showed today what he is still capable of doing."

Rebel Fitz emptied alarmingly in the straight. Davy Russell blamed the ground, with Winters suggesting that this, his sixth run since April, might have been a bridge too far, adding that his stable star would now get a break until the spring.

There was no such upset in the Dolores Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle, Whatever Jacksays making all to score his sixth victory since April.

Heavily backed into an SP of 4/7, Oliver McKiernan's versatile seven-year-old overcame concerns about the two-mile trip to sluice up by 20 lengths from Passage Vendome.

"It was a bit short for him but it was a good pot, so there was no point in leaving him at home," McKiernan said of the Grade Three's €17,875 prize.

Foildubh (3/1) also justified favouritism for John Ryan and Paul Carberry in the Woodlands Hotel Adare Handicap Hurdle, while the Grade Three Novice Chase saw the game Pride Of The Artic (4/1) repel the persistent challenge of Jackonslady to score for a fourth time on the trot for Peter Fahey and Andrew Leigh.

On a good day for pacesetters, Hurricane Twister ridiculed the handicapper's best efforts to trounce the field in the seven-furlong handicap.

Up 12lb since providing his Castlemartyr-based handler Victor Clifford with his first winner at Roscommon last week, Gary Phillips' mount justified being backed from 8/1 into 5/1 joint-favouritism.

Leading Light, a rare Kevin Manning-ridden winner for Aidan O'Brien, was also well supported into evens favourite before grinding out a result in the juvenile maiden, with Yellow Rosebud denying her nemesis Lady Wingshot to take the Group Three Concorde Stakes for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen at the same price.

The win left Smullen one shy of Joseph O'Brien at the top of the riders' table.

Irish Independent

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