'Song' proves so sweet for Mullins in Cork National
Logical Song turned in what was a career-best performance under Danny Mullins to capture the Paddy Power Cork Grand National Handicap Chase yesterday.
Mags Mullins' eight-year-old does not have too much chasing experience under his belt, and only broke his duck over fences in late September, but the novice benefited from a shrewd, patient ride from his jockey.
A Sizing Network gave up the lead he held since flagfall when Arkwrisht headed him two out, but Logical Song came there pulling double. Once Mullins pressed the button on the son of King's Theatre, the 7/1 chance strode clear and crossed the line with 12 lengths in hand.
Veteran Raz De Maree, a dual winner of this race, produced another honourable effort for second, with Undressed third and Arkwrisht fourth.
"Danny was anxious to step up to three-and-a-half miles and even Daniel (Furini, owner), in Italy, was wondering was it too far for him, but I said we'd ride him to get it (the trip) and see," explained the winning trainer.
"He is so honest and is so genuine and I'm delighted with him and he jumped super. He always just stays and over a shorter trip something with more gears would get him but he is great and has given us great fun."
Bamako Moriviere was earlier a fine winner of the Grade Three novices' chase on the card. Willie Mullins' six-year-old was much too good for Jury Duty and ended up claiming victory by 16 lengths in the hands of Ruby Walsh.
"He had plenty experience and had a win over two miles and was in against Jury Duty, who lacked experience," said Walsh. "He pinged the third-last and quickened up really well and put the race to bed there."
Cracking Smart (5/4 favourite) won a third race on the bounce in the Listed novice hurdle over three miles.
Gordon Elliott's five-year-old was not foot-perfect, but he did not need to engage overdrive to account for Robin Des Foret by eight-and-a-half lengths.
Assistant trainer Davy Condon observed: "Whatever he does this year will be a bonus because he is a real chaser for next year."
The familiar green and gold colours of JP McManus were carried to victory in the opening maiden hurdle as Barry Geraghty steered home the well-backed Shady Operator.
Successful on debut in a bumper at Limerick, the Joseph O'Brien-trained gelding had since finished second to Cracking Smart on his debut over flights at Punchestown and was duly supported into 4/5 favourite.
Settled behind the leaders, the son of Court Cave improved into a closer third on the run for home before throwing down his challenge from the second last. He took over from the front-running Castlebrook before the final flight, pulling clear on the run-in to score by three-and-a-half lengths.
There was a surprise in the two-mile handicap chase as the Philip Rothwell-trained Shrewdoperator was in the van throughout and dug deep for Conor Maxwell to see off the challenge of Dark Outsider by a length and a half, while there was a local winner in the two-and-a-half mile hurdle as Granny Biddy easily justified 11/4 favouritism for Kanturk trainer Michael Winters and jockey Donal McInerney.