Carlingford Lough surges past big guns to take Punchestown Gold Cup
Carlingford Lough powered home in the hands of Barry Geraghty to cause a minor upset in the Bibby Financial Services Ireland Punchestown Gold Cup.
Winner of the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February before finishing a creditable fourth at Cheltenham, John Kiely's charge was sent off at 12-1 in a market dominated by the much-loved British challenger Cue Card.
Road To Riches took the field along for much of the three-mile-one-furlong feature and was tracked into the straight by both Gold Cup runner-up Djakadam and Gold Cup third Don Poli.
Cue Card, who suffered a dramatic fall at Cheltenham before bouncing back in brilliant fashion at Aintree, did not travel with his usual panache, and the 4-6 favourite had ground to make up turning for home along with the under-pressure Carlingford Lough.
The complexion of the race changed at the second-last, however, with Road To Riches coming to grief and both Djakadam and Don Poli beginning to falter.
Strong stayer Carlingford Lough made the most of the opportunity, answering Barry Geraghty's every call to join Djakadam for the lead at the final fence before going on to score by four and a half lengths.
Djakadam kept on to fill the runner-up spot, with his stable companion Don Poli just beating Cue Card to third.
Geraghty said: "What a trainer John Kiely is - he's brilliant.
"He (Carlingford Lough) came from the clouds to win in Leopardstown, Mark (Walsh) gave him a brilliant ride.
"He couldn't go the gallop in Cheltenham and he couldn't go the gallop today, but it was just the way he finished out.
"It was just how long he could sustain that run, but he went all the way to the line."