Russell gets Gimli's Rock on a roll to seal Kilbeggan double
KILBEGGAN racegoers witnessed another masterclass from Davy Russell as the former champion jockey guided the enigmatic Gimli's Rock to victory as the highlight of a double.
Only four horses lined up for for the Follow Kilbeggan Races On Twitter Hurdle; Gimli's Rock was less than enthusiastic about the prospect and Russell had to get after him from early on.
Jessie Harrington's charge looked to be going nowhere on the final circuit, but thanks to the persistence of Russell, the 7/2 shot eventually consented to put his best foot foward and really found his stride in the last half-mile.
The 7/2 shot pounced between The Bishop Looney and Beluckyagain at the second-last flight and held a clear advantage at the last before running on to beat the former by six lengths.
Russell initiated his brace aboard Peter Fahey's mare Queen Alphabet (5/1), which took over at the second last flight from favourite Voluptueux in the Tullamore Maiden Hurdle before comfortably holding Erlkonig by three and three-quarter lengths.
Gordon Elliott's Raajih was sent off the 11/4 favourite for the staying handicap chase and after a contest in which there was no shortage of drama, he eventually won with a degree of authority.
Aces And Kings fell when in front, and Prince Of Milan was staying on in second when unseating at the last, leaving Paul Carberry to coast in eight lengths clear on the grey.
Mark Walsh gave Nearly Nama'd a positive ride in the Westmeath Beginners Chase and the Dessie Hughes-trained six-year-old always looked to have the upper hand as the 7/2 second favourite beat stablemate Mackeys Forge by three and a half lengths.
Adam O'Neill sent Alf Wright into the lead going to two out in the Like Kilbeggan Racecourse On Facebook Handicap Hurdle and Eoin Doyle's 4/1 shot bounded clear to win easily by nine and a half lengths.
On the Flat at Dundalk, Colin Keane again showed his good judge of pace from the front by making all aboard the well-backed Relentless Pursuit in the seven-furlong handicap.
Backed from 8/1 into 9/2 joint favourite, the Ger Lyons-trained son of Kodiac was bounced out of his favourable draw in stall one and never saw another rival as he galloped on strongly to beat Wishyouwerehere by a length and three-quarters.
Earlier, Aidan O'Brien's Johann Strauss finally got off the mark as he landed the seven-furlong maiden in the hands of son Joseph.
Showing the benefit of wearing a hood for the first time, the 4/11 favourite settled well in second behind leader Atlantic Sea before quickening clear in the straight to score comfortably.
Across the water, Gospel Choir ably quelled fears over his staying prowess with a victory in the Yorkshire Cup.
Michael Stoute's chestnut does not hold an entry in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, with the Hardwicke Stakes the preferred destination, but his fortitude under adversity was key to him winning this esteemed Group Two.
The son of Galileo impressed over a mile and a half in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket at the beginning of the month, but even those closest to him questioned whether he would be game enough to handle this longer trip.
Halfway along the home straight, it soon became clear that would not be an issue as Ryan Moore found a handy split between Seal Of Approval and last year's winner Glen's Diamond, which made most of the running.
At Newbury, David Wachman's Lahinch Classics put up a solid performance when chasing home Luca Cumani's Volume in the Listed Swettenham Stud Fillies' Trial.