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Kevin Sexton in dreamland as Royal Kahala comes of age at Gowran Park

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Jockey Kevin Sexton acknowledges punters' applause on Royal Kahala after winning the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Jockey Kevin Sexton acknowledges punters' applause on Royal Kahala after winning the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Jockey Kevin Sexton acknowledges punters' applause on Royal Kahala after winning the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Perseverance has paid off for Kevin Sexton with the Kildare rider in the headlines again at Gowran Park yesterday when Royal Kahala (9/2) caused an upset in the Grade Two John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle.

Peter Fahey’s mare was given little hope against Willie Mullins’s Klassical Dream (1/3 favourite), which was a disappointing fourth, but the seven-year-old took it up two hurdles from home before fending off Joseph O’Brien’s 80/1 shot Home By The Lee.

Cheltenham Festival success last March aboard Belfast Banter, which followed up at Aintree to provide Sexton with a first Grade One win, and Royal Kahala’s latest triumph have made it a whirlwind 12 months for the high-flying pilot.

“Even just looking back on it now you’re just waiting for it to end and it’s not, if anything it’s getting better,” Sexton said. “It just shows you that if you do put your head down you’ll get to the places you want to be.

“My girlfriend and my family, I’ve said it all along if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here and then to get the backing from the likes of Peter because you do need good horses to be riding or there’s no point doing it.”

Another in-form jockey is Richie Condon with the local rider toasting a sweet success as the Louise Lyons-trained Kells Priory (33/1) provided him with his second victory since returning from a broken back.

Rachael Blackmore was also on the mark when the Henry de Bromhead-trained Coeur Sublime (1/6 favourite) landed the beginners’ chase in style, while there was a family story in the opener as Charlie O’Dwyer steered Uncle Gerhard (10/1), trained by his father Conor, to victory.

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