Old times return with the crowds as Longhouse Poet secures Thyestes Chase

Darragh O’Keefe adds to CV after earning Ride of the Year prize for Leopardstown effort

Darragh O’Keeffe celebrates after winning on Longhouse Poet. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Darragh O’Keeffe celebrates after winning on Longhouse Poet. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

It was like old times at a packed Gowran Park on Thursday as Longhouse Poet was cheered home to Goffs Thyestes Chase success.

The first major attendance at an Irish race meeting since last week’s easing of government Covid-19 restrictions saw the popular ante-post gamble emerge on top at odds of 9-1.

Jockey Darragh O’Keeffe carried Sean and Bernadine Mulyryan’s colours to a three parts of a length defeat of Franco De Port with Mister Fogpatches in third.

If it felt like a long time between drinks for the racegoers, then Longhouse Poet’s trainer Martin Brassil was entitled to feel the same.

The winner, who had been 25-1 for the prestigious handicap last week, was a first Thyestes runner for Brassil since Numbersixvalverde was victorious in 2005.

A couple of months later Numbersixvalverde added the Irish Grand National to his CV before in 2006 graduating to the biggest prize of all in the Aintree Grand National.

Bookmakers made Longhouse Poet a general 33-1 shot to follow a similar route and strike in Liverpool this April.

Curragh based Brassil confirmed his lightly raced star will feature among Aintree entries at Monday’s early acceptance stage and Fairyhouse on Easter Monday is also an option.

“Darragh said he never missed a beat. He was always able to take him back and give him a breather,” he said.

“I would have said he was more effective on heavy ground but he seemed to handle that. I know it’s soft but there’s a bit more life in it today. He just really enjoyed it.

“The last time I had a runner in the race was when Numbersixvalverde won it (in 2005). They’re great races to win, these historic races, won by some great horses going back the years,” Brassil added.

It was a memorable win for O’Keeffe, one of the rising stars of the jockeys room and retained rider to the Mulryans.

The 21-year-old earned ‘Ride of the Year’ honours last month for his memorable maiden Grade 1 victory on A Plus Tard in the Savills Chase at the 2020 Christmas festival in Leopardstown.

That took place behind closed doors and the Cork jockey was keen to soak up Thursday’s atmosphere.

“To see the big crowd here, and everyone, these are the days you want to be riding winners so it’s brilliant,” he said.

Willie Mullins missed out in the Thyestes and endured a bigger blow earlier on the card when Klassical Dream was a bitterly disappointing fourth as a 1-3 favourite in the Galmoy Hurdle.

Dominant to the straight the Mullins star folded tamely as the mare Royal Kahala scored at 9-2.

Peter Fahey’s runner was cut to 5-1 for the Close Bros Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham.

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