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


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.

Although the eight-year-old had only found the number one spot from six previous starts over fences, the only time he has failed to finish in the first three was when falling in the Arkle at Leopardstown in late January.

Making his handicap debut over the larger obstacles and fitted with a hood for the first time, Mallowney travelled strongly throughout the two-mile contest and jumped to the lead at the first fence in the home straight.

His rivals were soon struggling to keep tabs on the 8-1 shot as he powered down to the final obstacle and skipped over it to seal a two-and-a-half-length triumph.

Art Of Logistics ran a good race in second ahead of Tanks For That and 11-4 favourite Ned Buntline.

Trainer John Kenny and leading conditional jockey Ger Fox combined to claim the Avon Ri Corporate & Leisure Resort Chase as 25-1 shot Jacks Island clinched the La Touche Cup.

The 11-year-old had failed to get his head in front in over three years in a mixture of cross-country events, conventional chases, hurdle races and a point-to-point, but had run with some promise when fifth over the smaller obstacles at Wexford last month and was unlucky when slipping up at Cheltenham in December.

He appeared to relish this return to the banks and an extreme distance of four miles and a furlong, pulling clear to secure a seven-and-a-half-length victory.

Cross-country king Enda Bolger has a superb record in the race and this year saddled the runner-up Keep On Track.

Another cross-country favourite Uncle Junior finished strongly to grab third ahead of Bolger’s Quantitativeeasing.

Philip Hobbs’ Duke Of Lucca was sent off favourite, but although he was not too far off the pace for much of the journey, he eventually weakened out of contention.


1st Macnicholson (BJ Geraghty) 10/1
2nd Pivot Bridge ( E Splaine) 11/1
3rd Oscar Buzz (PT Enright) 33/1
4th Shemshal (AJ McNamara) 20/1
5th King Of Oriel (RC Colgan) 22/1

1st Mallowney (DN Russell) 8/1
2nd Art Of Logistics (T Scudamore) 8/1
3rd Tanks For That (BJ Geraghty) 12/1
4th Ned Buntline ( AP McCoy) 11/4

1st Jacks Island (GN Fox) 25/1
2nd Keep On Track (Mr BM Linehan) 16/1
3rd Uncle Junior (17) Mr P Mullins) 4/1

1st Jetson (4) D N Russell 20/1
2nd Quevega (F) (10) R Walsh 9/10
3rd At Fishers Cross (2JF) (1) A P Mccoy 4/1

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