McKiernan thrilled by surprise Plan triumph
Outsider Follow The Plan sprang a surprise when striking late in the Matty Ryan Memorial Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles yesterday.
Oliver McKiernan's charge was sent off at 25/1, having not found the winner's enclosure since December 2008, and he looked booked for minor honours at best as Patrick Mangan got to work in the home straight.
Roberto Goldback, favourite J'y Vole and 13-year-old Newmill were in front of Follow The Plan coming to the final fence, but Mangan switched his mount to the far rail and he finished his race off strongly to deny Roberto Goldback by a neck.
"I wasn't expecting that, but that just makes it all the sweeter," McKiernan said. "The ground wouldn't have really suited him and maybe it was just that some of the fancied horses didn't run up to form.
"He had leg trouble in the past and he came back from Cheltenham (in 2009) a wreck. We gave him plenty of time off after that and he got a lovely ride from Patrick there."
Pat Flynn has his eyes on Grade One glory for Louisville Lip after he made a winning debut over obstacles in the W T O'Grady Memorial Hurdle at the Tipperary track.
The 20/1 chance looked to have been set a stiff task with smart Flat performers Maxim Gorky and Table Mountain in the line-up, but Louisville Lip proved much too strong.
Always travelling strongly for David Casey, the four-year-old quickened to the lead heading towards the final flight and came home two and a half lengths clear of favourite Maxim Gorky, with Table Mountain only eighth.
"I rate this horse very highly -- I really love him," Flynn said. "He schooled well, but you never know until they get to the track to run over hurdles.
"He'll go for the Grade One (Spring Juvenile Hurdle) at Leopardstown on Hennessy day (February 6)."
Michael Winters' flagbearer For Bill continued her excellent run of form by claiming the Ask & Getaway Coolmore NH Sires EBF Novice Chase.
The eight-year-old arrived with seven victories from her 10 career starts and having recorded her first success over fences at this track earlier in the month.
Ridden by Paul Carberry after Davy Russell suffered a fall in the previous race, the 5/2 chance had only favourite Blazing Tempo for company in the straight.
The latter made a crucial mistake soon after turning for home and For Bill took full advantage, stretching clear for a five-length success.