Friday 24 November 2017

Tony McCoy pips Ruby to victory in Leopardstown opener with Plinth

Plinth ridden by Tony McCoy (left) race to the finish on the way to winning the Paddy Power iPad app 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle ahead of Ivan Grozny ridden by Ruby Walsh (right) during day two of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival
Plinth ridden by Tony McCoy (left) race to the finish on the way to winning the Paddy Power iPad app 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle ahead of Ivan Grozny ridden by Ruby Walsh (right) during day two of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival

Tony McCoy was at his brilliant best as the Aidan O'Brien-trained Plinth claimed a last-gasp victory in the Paddy Power iPad App 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Willie Mullins' French recruit Ivan Grozny was all the rage for the two-mile contest and the even-money favourite moved sweetly through the race in the hands of Ruby Walsh.

The market leader quickened to lead approaching the final flight, but McCoy and O'Brien's decent Flat runner Plinth (3-1) had him in their sights.

Ivan Grozny looked set to hold on, but in the dying strides the JP McManus-owned Plinth eroded the deficit and got up by a head.

O'Brien said: "We're delighted with that. He was green at the last and I thought he lost his chance there, but he quickened back up well. It was a great ride by AP to get him rolling again, but he showed a good turn of foot.

"He's a horse that JP has always liked and that was a lovely first run, he thought he would make a jumper and he has a lot more experience at this than me.

"It's nice to have a winner for JP here. It's been a long time since I've had one for him at this track and the lads at home have done a great job with him.

"Future plans depend on how he comes out of this race and we'll leave it to JP and Frank (Berry)."

RaceBets gave the winner a 25-1 quote for the Triumph Hurdle, and spokesman Joseph Burke said: "This race often falls to an above-average juvenile and last year's winner Flaxen Flare went on to take the Fred Winter at Cheltenham. The combination of O'Brien's tremendous strike-rate at the Festival and Plinth's Flat speed, no doubt inherited from his sire Montjeu, means that he will be a very tough horse to pass in March."

Double Irish annihilated his opponents in the Paddy Power Maiden Hurdle.

Gordon Elliott's point-to-point graduate showed little promise on his first two starts over hurdles and was a 16-1 shot to make it third-time lucky in the hands of Davy Russell.

It was clear from an early stage the five-year-old was enjoying his task and after taking up the running leaving the back straight, he swiftly left the chasing pack trailing in his wake.

Double Irish skipped over the final flight and despite being eased right down as he passed the post, Russell's partner still had 13 lengths in hand over 11-8 favourite Champagne James.

Elliott said: "He's improved from his last two runs and he did that well.

"I'm not sure where we'll go now, but he'll make a nice horse in time."

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