No dream finale for Quevega at Punchestown

Willie Mullins’ superstar beaten in major upset by Jetson (20/1) in World Hurdle at Co Kildare track

Thu, May 1, 2014, 18:10

Brilliant mare Quevega, in what is likely to be her final race, could finish only second as Jetson caused a major upset in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle at Punchestown.

Fresh from winning the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival for the sixth successive year, the Willie Mullins-trained Quevega was the 9-10 favourite to secure a fifth victory on the bounce in this three-mile Grade One.

She travelled with her usual zest for much of the journey, but Ruby Walsh was hard at work from the home turn.

Jetson, up with the pace from outset, had already stolen a march on his rivals at the top of the straight and while Quevega did her best to reel him after the final flight, Jessica Harrington’s runner had enough in reserve to score by a length and a quarter in the hands of an inspired Davy Russell.

At Fishers Cross was third as Quevega suffered her first defeat since 2009.

Macnicholson finished with a flourish to emerge victorious in a thrilling Colm Murray Memorial Handicap Hurdle.

Golden Ticket set a strong gallop from the outset in the two-mile opener on day three of the Festival, quickly opening up a huge advantage over the rest of the field.

He predictably weakened heading down the back straight, however, with the closing pack eventually swamping the pacesetter.

Pivot Bridge looked likely to strike gold when asserting from the home turn, but while he was still in front jumping the final flight, 10-1 co-favourite Macnicholson was a few lengths behind and landed running.

Jessica Harrington’s charge, running under a penalty following success at Kilbeggan six days ago, reeled in Pivot Bridge and got up in the dying strides to take the prize by half a length under the irrepressible Barry Geraghty.

Oscar Buzz and Shemshal finished third and fourth respectively.

Harrington said: “I was actually a bit afraid that the ground in Kilbeggan would be too quick for him. We just needed to get his head in front.

“The 6lb penalty was a bit of a pain, but he did it well.

“He really needs two and a half miles, but they went very quick and all he was doing was staying.

“He was just struggling all the time in very soft ground (earlier in the season).

“He’ll need a bit of a break now and might come back for Galway.”

Tim Doyle’s stable star Mallowney enjoyed a deserved day in the sun as he ran out a decisive winner of the Handicap Chase under champion jockey Davy Russell.

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