Last Instalment wins Hennessy Gold Cup Chase at Leopardstown
Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh land Grade One double with Vautour and Ballycasey
A general view of the runners and riders at Leopardstown today. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Last Instalment returned to his very best when making most of the running in the Hennessy Gold Cup Chase at Leopardstown.
The nine-year-old had been off since February 2012 when he came back last month and caused a minor surprise in this three-mile Grade One.
The 8-1 chance, trained by Philip Fenton, powered home in the hands of Brian O’Connell.
Tidal Bay finished with a flourish to claim second place.
O’Connell said: “He was exceptional. It wasn’t the plan to make the running, but it’s worked out in a slow-run race.”
Ballycasey put up an admirable display as deputy for Champagne Fever to take the Dr PJ Moriarty Novice Chase.
Trainer Willie Mullins had no qualms pitching the grey in his stablemate’s absence and he duly landed the spoils at odds of 2-1 after making most of the running.
Don Cossack, the even-money favourite, was second, while the other member of the party, Carlingford Lough, unseated Tony McCoy at the final fence.
It was a quick Grade One double for Mullins and Walsh after the success of Vautour in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle.
Vautour floored The Tullow Tank with a convincing pillar-to-post win. Walsh took dictated affairs on the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old, who comfortably held the 9-10 favourite by three lengths.
Vautour (7-4) was never put under serious pressure to hold the The Tullow Tank and take his 100 per cent record over hurdles to three since joining the Mullins team from France.
Guitar Pete gave trainer Dessie Hughes a second successive triumph in the Gala Retail Spring Juvenile Hurdle after Our Conor had struck 12 months ago.
Barry Geraghty took up the running after jumping the second-last and soon put the Grade One race to bed. The 9-2 shot ran on stoutly to comfortably beat Tiger Roll (16-1) by two and a quarter lengths.
Plinth was third, while the 9-10 favourite Ivan Grozny never threatened in fourth. Geraghty said: “He was very impressive. He really ground it out and jumped like a stag.”