Scoir Mear finally delivers the goods
Scoir Mear delivered the big-race victory he has long promised in the Novice Handicap Chase Final at Navan yesterday.
The JP McManus-owned grey was a high-class performer over hurdles a couple of years ago for trainer Tom Mullins - most notably finishing fifth behind Supasundae in the Coral Cup at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.
The story of his chasing career thus far has been one of frustration, but he finally came good in this €65,000 contest under Jody McGarvey.
After several fallers, the race came down to a battle between 25/1 shot Scoir Mear and 11/2 joint-favourite Young Paddymc and it was the outsider which kicked clear to score by three-and-a-half lengths.
Mullins said: "He's been frustrating, and needs a few tweaks and massages between runs.
"We fancied him at Naas two runs back, but he jumped desperate. Then, the last time in the Leinster National, a few horses crossed him at the first - and he was never travelling after that.
"He was a different horse today - he travelled sweetly all the way, and I'm delighted that he's back to form.
"A penalty for that win should put him into the Irish National and that's probably where he'll go now."
Darasso wore down market rival Cadmium to claim victory in the Webster Cup.
An impressive winner of the Grade Three Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park last month, Joseph O'Brien's charge was a heavily-backed even-money favourite as he returned to the larger obstacles for this Grade Two assignment, having won each of his two starts over fences in France.
It was not entirely straightforward for the market leader, which appeared to be struggling to keep up with the strong pace being set by Tycoon Prince and Woodland Opera in the early stages of the two-mile contest.
However, Tycoon Prince faltered, and Woodland Opera made a bad mistake at the fence before the home straight, turning it into a duel between the top two in the betting.
The Willie Mullins-trained Cadmium (2/1) looked to be travelling the stronger of the pair on the run to the second fence from home under Ruby Walsh, but Darasso responded to Barry Geraghty's urgings to hit the front at the last.
Cadmium did not go down without a fight on the run-in but, in receipt of 5lb, the JP McManus-owned Darasso won the argument a shade cosily by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
Geraghty said: "There's no doubt he's a good horse, but he was also facing horses that didn't go (to Cheltenham) last week - not meaning to be disrespectful, but horses of a level."
The Gordon Elliott-trained Final List recorded his first victory over jumps in the Maiden Hurdle. The Tramore bumper winner, which had been placed on each of his four hurdling starts, opened his account as a 15/8 chance in the hands of Davy Russell.
The father-son combination of Philip and Luke Dempsey landed the Novice Hurdle with Caravation, while Sean Flanagan steered Adrian Murray's Bilbo Bagins (7/1) to victory in the Handicap Chase.
Harry Swan - teenage son of the great Charlie Swan - landed the concluding bumper aboard John Walsh's 16/1 shot Fiddlerontheroof, relegating odds-on favourite The Big Getaway (Patrick Mullins) to second place.
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