Ivanovich Gorbatov gets back to winning ways at Fairyhouse
Camelia De Cotte catches the eye while Rachael Blackmore lands double on the day
Ivanovich Gorbatov finally returned to winning ways under JJ Slevin at Fairyhouse. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
Ivanovich Gorbatov claimed his first victory since the 2016 Cheltenham Festival in the RYBO Handicap Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
It is over three years since Joseph O’Brien’s charge landed the Triumph Hurdle at Prestbury Park and he has spent plenty of time in the wilderness.
However, his third placed finish at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown in February was a big step in the right direction and the JP McManus-owned seven-year-old was an 11-1 shot on his first start since in this 100,000 euros contest.
With JJ Slevin in the saddle, Ivanovich Gorbatov travelled strongly in midfield for much of the two-mile journey before moving onto the heels of the pacesetters rounding the home turn.
The gelded son of Montjeu got a dream run up the far rail, shot clear between the final two flights and had enough in reserve after the last to prevail by two and a half lengths from Tudor City.
“They went quick and he enjoys that. He travels and he jumps very well,” said O’Brien.
“He probably got there a little bit sooner than ideal, but he got a good jump at the last and that probably finished it for the rest of them.
“He was working well, but you don’t know what you’re going to get with him.
“Things fell his way today, it’s a lovely pot and I’m delighted for JP.”
Earlier Camelia De Cotte got back on the winning trail with a fine front-running display in the BoyleSports Grand National Festival John & Chich Fowler Memorial EBF Mares Chase.
The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old was successful on five of her first six starts over fences including victories at Listed, Grade Three and Grade Two level.
She found the promising Kaiser Black too strong on her latest outing at Naas last month, but back against her own sex in this Grade Three contest, she was the marginal favourite at 13-8 in the hands of Paul Townend.
Pravalaguna closed the gap before the home turn, but Townend cut a confident figure in the saddle aboard Camelia De Cotte and she was ultimately good value for the winning margin of five and a half lengths.
Barra shaped with credit in third on what was her first appearance since winning on her chasing debut at Kilbeggan last July.
Mullins said: “She’s very sharp. You saw more than I did as I just arrived here when they were pulling up.
“Paul thought she was going a little right today, I don’t know why. He said the ground was well watered and it’s a credit to Fairyhouse to produce ground in weather like this.”
Later Ronald Pump charged home to land the I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Novice Handicap Hurdle Series Final.
A competitive field of 23 runners went to post for the €55,000 contest and despite having won three of his last four starts for Matthew Smith, Ronald Pump was a 12-1 shot under Keith Donoghue — running off a 13lb higher mark than when scoring at Cork on his latest outing.
There were still plenty in with chances rounding the home turn and it was Ronald Pump who saw out the three-mile distance best to prevail by two lengths from Ifyoucatchmenow.
Meanwhile he formidable combination of trainer Henry de Bromhead and jockey Rachael Blackmore enjoyed a double on the card.
Or Jaune De Somoza justified 7-4 favouritism in the Mongey Communications Beginners Chase before 5-1 shot Surf Instructor claimed a narrow victory in the Ratoath Pharmacy Ladies National.
“Or Jaune De Somoza was a bit disappointing mid-winter, but he seems good again now and he was tough there,” said De Bromhead.
“He’s a novice through the summer and I’d presume we’ll carry on with him as he likes that better ground.
“I’m delighted with Surf Instructor. It was a super ride from Rachael and it was a lovely performance from the horse.
“This horse probably doesn’t want it quick, but he’s in good form and we need to strike while the iron is hot.”
Earlier La Tektor deservedly opened his account in the Eat Your Vegetables Maiden Hurdle.
Tony Martin’s charge had filled the runner-up spot on each of his four previous starts under rules — most recently being caught on the line over this course and distance.
He was an 11-8 favourite to end that frustrating run and displayed a willing attitude under Denis O’Regan to see off the promising Hang In There by three-quarters of a length.
Martin said: “He dug deep. Unfortunately he’s just met a few good ones. The experience helped today.
“He’s been good for the last few weeks and you’d like to let him off, but it all depends how he is next week — we’ll see about Punchestown on the Friday or Saturday.”