August 19, 2018, 23:49

Tower Bridge springs Leopardstown surprise

Tower Bridge springs Leopardstown surprise

Tower Bridge swooped late to win the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle, the opening event of the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

Tower Bridge swooped late to win the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle, the opening event of the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained runner was the outsider of the seven-strong field and J J Slevin had him switched off at the back of the pack as Paul Townend set out to make all on 7-4 favourite Fabulous Saga.

The latter had built up a substantial lead and was still five lengths clear with three to jump, but Dicey O’Reilly was leading the chase and Fabulous Saga was clearly out of gas coming to the last.

It looked as though Jetz had stolen the advantage up the inside, but Slevin delivered the 25-1 winner down the middle of the track on the run to the line and Tower Bridge kept responding, eventually shading it on the line.

Slevin, winning his first Grade One, said: “It’s great to get the chance to ride those horses, it’s unbelievable really.

“Joseph clearly knows what he’s doing and it was a big call to run a maiden in a race like that. His form over hurdles was solid.

“He won well. He travelled well and jumped well, he stuck his neck out well and galloped all the way to the line.”

O’Brien said: “He was a good bumper horse and never jumped a hurdle in Down Royal one day and then jumped better the last day here. I think he only missed the first today.

“To be honest we were hoping to just get some prize-money today and go back and win our maiden in a couple of weeks. It’s nice that he’s done that today, and he should be better on better ground.

“He picked up from the second-last and galloped all the way to line. I’m delighted for J J who does a great job for us and gave him a great ride.”

Jessica Harrington said of Jetz: “I’m absolutely thrilled, he was keen enough early on but when he was headed he battled back. The better going suited him and he’ll be going to Fairyhouse and Punchestown. He’s a chaser for next year.”

Patricks Park was delivered with a perfectly-timed run by Rachael Blackmore to win the Coral Sandyford Handicap Chase.Formerly trained in Britain by Matt Shepherd, Patricks Park had his first start for Willie Mullins on New Year’s Day and stepped up considerably on that sixth place over hurdles to lift this two-mile-one-furlong contest.Three Stars appeared to have stolen a winning advantage coming to the final obstacle but a slight mistake at that fence allowed Patricks Park (6-1) to get on terms and he kicked away after the last.Tully East kept on for third with Blast Of Koeman fourth.Blackmore said: "Patricks Park was fantastic. It was great to get an opportunity to get to ride for Willie and I was delighted I could get the job done today."We went a hell of a gallop so he was a little on his head at the start, but his jumping kept him in it and he was fantastic in that sense."Mullins said: "I’m delighted for Rachel and it’s a fantastic prize to win. She got a really good tune out of the horse down the back. You could see from the stands, he was jumping out of her hands and she was just trying to keep out of trouble."She is a fantastic rider and is one of the hardest workers in the country. She rides out for me two or three days a week and then lots of other places and is always on the go and gets results."He added: "He disappointed over hurdles the last day, but we came back a mile today. He might run at Cheltenham if he gets into one of the handicap chases."


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