All the news from day 2 of the Punchestown Festival – Sir claims Gold

The Pat Fahy-trained Morning Assembly (14/1) battled hard to land the Grade 1 IRISH DAILY MIRROR NOVICE HURDLE under Davy Condon in the colours of Yorkshire-based Steve Parkin’s Clipper Logistics.

“That’s great because things have just not been happening this season. It’s been very flat and Steve has been totally supportive,” said Fahy. “When Inish Island loomed up I thought that was it. But in all his races Morning Assembly has been at his best in the last 300 yards and he kept on at the end today.

“That’s him, he’s a dour horse who stays. He’ll definitely go chasing next season now.”

The Sabrina Harty-trained Dalisiri (6/1) showed great resilience to hold off British raider Gassin Golf to capture the LOUIS FITZGERALD HOTEL HURDLE.

“He’s beautifully-bred, beautifully-made with a good attitude,” said Harty. “You could see today how competitive he is – when anything goes upsides him he doesn’t want to let them pass.

“I’ll probably give him a bit of a holiday after today and he could run on the flat again. It’s a big step up for juveniles to go into Grade 1s but he’s a class horse.”

Dalisiri’s jockey Barry Geraghty added: “Dalasiri is a little terrier. He looked beat but he flew the last and I thought I was going to get beat again halfway up the run-in but he ran on. He is dead game and as tough as nails.

Richard Lee, trainer of Gassin Golf, said: “If he had jumped the last better he could have won but he was beaten fair and square in the end. He’ll be a novice for next season but he could head to Royal Ascot for the Ascot Stakes.”

Gassin Golf’s rider Richard Johnson said: “Gassin Golf was a bit careful at the last but he has run a cracker.”

Trainer Ado McGuinness paid tribute to stable stalwart Beau Michael after the  nine-year-old scored at 25/1 in the opening MARTINSTOWN OPPORTUNITY SERIES FINAL HANDICAP HURDLE under David Splaine.

“I thought the ground had gone for him,” said McGuinness. “But he is a tough old horse and a great old servant. I wish I had more like him and I think that’s his 14th win for us.

“He is a graded winner too so he was the class horse in the race. He is very versatile and a few years ago he won a flat race, a hurdle and a chase in three weeks.

“It means a lot to win here and they are a great bunch of lads with me here today. They have had a few different horses with me and Beau Michael won in Galway for them a few years so it’s great to win here as well

“He’ll go back to the Flat and run in a couple of good handicaps over the summer and he could go for the Galway Plate because he has a nice mark over fences. But he’s done so much for us that anything else he achieves is a bonus.” 


A fantastic renewal of THETOTE.COM PUNCHESTOWN GOLD CUP saw Sir Des Champs (2/1 favourite) fight off 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run to score by three-quarters of a length to the delight of trainer Willie Mullins.

“I thought at the stone wall that we were beat but Davy got a breather in and he seemed a different horse after that,” said Mullins. “After the third last Davy went for it and it was decisive more and proved the right thing to do.

“He looked very well in himself and didn’t look like he’d had a race at Cheltenham beforehand. He ran his heart out in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and I hope we’ll be back there for another go next year. I thought he jumped very well there and was disappointed the ground changed.”

Jockey Davy Russell added: “His run at Cheltenham was great, he was only beaten in the last 100 yards and I was disappointed not to be riding there.

“It was tough today, I was tipping him along and I thought Cheltenham had taken its toll. I struggled to move him up the back. But he then completely filled up again and he had loads left at the last two. I always knew he was tough physically but he showed how mentally tough he was today.

“As to next season, if the other fellow (Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth) stays at that level and we improve a bit, then you never know.”

Owner Michael O’Leary said: “Willie had him right on the day and Davy gave the horse a peach of a ride. The horse was good, but to be fair to Long Run, he never ducked it.

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