Kennedy and Elliott back in groove with Swingbridge
They may have endured a frustrating Punchestown Festival but Jack Kennedy and Gordon Elliott were back at centre stage with Swingbridge landing last night's €40,000 Killarney National.
Kennedy was always travelling well on the 7/1 shot, joining the leaders turning for home before galloping into the lead before the second last. The 11-year-old soon went clear and had little difficulty in seeing off the staying-on Auvergnat by eight lengths on the run-in.
This completed a 63/1 double for the Elliott-Kennedy axis which had earlier combined to take the BetVictor Sliabh Hurdle with Flaxen Fare (7/1) - the 10-year-old assuming command betweent the last two to see off Woodland Opera.
Elliott was also on the mark at Roscommon where his Osmotic justified 5/2 favouritism in impressive fashion under Jamie Codd in the closing bumper.
Meanwhile, Kevin Sexton put his injury nightmare behind him to land his first winner in 12 months when steering Peter Fahey's Peregrine Run (8/13 favourite) to Grade Three success in the An Riocht Chase.
The former champion conditional jockey has been riddled with injuries in the past year but he was seen to good effect to guide the course specialist home by a nose from champion rider Paul Townend on Jessica Harrington's Jett (3/1).
"It's great for Kevin as he has had issues and is back working with me for three or four weeks. He has his head down now and fingers crossed he can go on from here and get back to where he was a couple of years ago," Fahey said. "He is a great rider and hopefully every thing goes right for him now. He will be a big asset for the yard. He had an operation on his wrist at Christmas and this was his first day back."
Paddy Twomey's Foxtrot Liv looks like today's banker at the Kerry track in the Median Auction Fillies Race (5.50), while Harrington's Conron is another one to note in the Betvictor Handicap (7.50). Shane Foley's mount - which scored on the level last month at Clonmel - comes here in a rich vein of form having made the frame at Punchestown over hurdles two weeks ago.
Elsewhere, Karl Burke's stable star Laurens - already a five-time Group One winner - is among 17 confirmations for Saturday's Lockinge Stakes at Newbury as she makes her reappearance in the first top-level Group One contest for older horses this season.
Aidan O'Brien has left in former Andre Fabre inmate Le Brivido and I Can Fly, while last year's Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Romanised completes a trio of Irish challengers for Ken Condon.