Barker lands Pierse Hurdle
Racing: James Barrett and Timmy Murphy combined to win the Pierse Hurdle with 10-1 chance Barker at Leopardstown this afternoon.
The progressive grey was completing his hat-trick in the ever-competitive two-miler, but still had significant ground to make up on eventual runner-up Brave Right with one to jump.
However, Barker dug deep into his reserves as his target began to weaken and he overhauled the 33-1 shot before grinding out a two-and-a-half-length victory.
Silver Jaro (14-1) and the Gordon Elliott-trained Roman Villa (9-1) took third and fourth respectively, while 5-1 favourite Do The Trick fell just before the race began to hot up.
A jubilant Barrett said: "If he hadn't have won so well last time he would never have run here as the plan was to go novice chasing.
"To win the Pierse Hurdle with only your fifth winner is amazing - things aren't going so bad."
Reflecting on the race, Barrett added: "That was awesome. We were afraid of the ground but Timmy said he handled it and they were going so fast it suited him.
"I was happy that he stayed two and a half miles beforehand and he has galloped all the way to the line. He dropped the bit and jumped and travelled well throughout and everything just went right for him."
Barker's regular jockey Martin Mooney is temporarily sidelined and Barrett added: "I feel sorry for Martin.
"We rang him for advice on how to ride the race as he's a really important part of the team and he'll ride him the next day.
"We'll have a look at the County Hurdle at Cheltenham now but we'll get over today first."