Punchestown round-up: Bryan Cooper guides Bright New Dawn home
Elusive Ivy took honours in opening race while Quantitativeeasing ruled cross country
Bright New Dawn (right) ridden by jockey Bryan Cooper came from behind late on to win the Three.ie Handicap Chase during day three of the Punchestown Festival at Punchestown. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Bright New Dawn got rolling late to claim top honours in the Three.ie Handicap Chase on day three of the Punchestown Festival.
Formerly trained by Dessie and Sandra Hughes before joining Gordon Elliott at the start of this season, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned nine-year-old is seriously talented but also difficult to predict.
As well as winning at Clonmel twice since the turn of the year, he had disappointed at Cheltenham and Aintree and he was a 12-1 chance for his latest appearance.
Jessica Harrington’s 100-30 favourite Rock The World looked the likely winner after turning for home, but Bright New Dawn mowed him down after the final fence and got up by a length.
Sizing Codelco was back in third.
“Bryan (Cooper) gave him a brilliant ride — I thought he was very good on him,” said Elliott.
“He’s been a very frustrating horse. He’s either very good or very bad and there has been more bad unfortunately.
“He got a nice pot today and we’ll keep him going and see what we can get with him.”
In the opening race, Elusive Ivy knuckled down to claim victory in the JLT Handicap Hurdle.
Gavin Cromwell’s mare struck gold at the track in far more testing conditions back in January and having run with some credit on her latest appearance at Fairyhouse, she was a 16-1 shot for the opening race on day three of the Festival.
Conditional jockey Brien Kane produced his mount to lead on the run to the final flight and she had just enough left in the tank to hold on by three-quarters of a length from The Brock Inn, with Pakman and Seeyouallincoppers filling out the places.
Cromwell saddles stable star Jer’s Girl in the Grade One Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle on Friday.
He said: “The little bit of juice in the ground helped her as I thought the two miles might be a bit sharp. She’s stays two and a half.
“Brien gave her a smashing ride and everything went to plan. The last three weeks she has really turned a corner. She got her summer coat and has been working really well.
“She’s been Jer’s Girl’s work companion so hopefully they have brought each other on.
“She’ll stay going now and she could go chasing.”
The cross country track was the focus as Quantitativeeasing led home stable companion Cantlow to provide Enda Bolger with a one-two in the La Touche Cup.
Although the dominant force in this sphere, Bolger had not managed to win this prestigious event since L’Ami provided him with a fourth success in five years back in 2010.
With his likely favourite Josies Orders withdrawn, the master of Howardstown House relied on last year’s runner-up Quantitativeeasing (9-4 joint-favourite) and Cantlow, a relative newcomer to the cross-country scene.
Quantitativeeasing was ridden positively by Mark Walsh, who set sail for home a long way out.
Nina Carberry gradually eased Cantlow into contention and went in pursuit of his stablemate before the home turn.
Quantitativeeasing jumped the final fence with a narrow lead and picked up again on the run-in to seal a three-length success.
Cantlow ran a fine race on just his fourth start for Bolger.
Ballyboker Bridge finished third, with the admirable 15-year-old Uncle Junior, a dual winner of this race, finishing a fine fourth on his final start before retirement.
Walsh said: “You’d pay to ride a horse like this. Enda has them so well schooled, they just love it.
“When I got to the front he pricked his ears and I just left him there. He was loving it out in front.
“He’s a good horse and Enda is class at what he does.”
Bolger said: “That was exciting. He never missed a beat. He did that here with Nina in December as well and he loved being up there.
“It was a great ride by Mark. He was a very good horse before I ever got him and it was just a matter of changing gears with him and jumping technique, but he always had it from the word go.
“We’ll see how he comes out of this, get him home and see how he is. We have plenty in the race on Saturday.
“I’m delighted with Cantlow’s run as well. It’s a great race to win and that’s my first win since 2010. Good ground was a big factor for both horses.”
He added: “Josies Orders gave a couple of coughs coming off the lorry and we weren’t 100 per cent happy with him.
“He’s only eight so we thought it was better to be cautious.”
There was a thrilling climax to the Murray Spelman Handicap Hurdle, with Nicky Henderson’s Cup Final (14-1) gaining a narrow verdict.
Elliott’s Jury Duty was a well-backed 5-1 favourite and his supporters must have been counting their money when he went clear from the home turn, but Cup Final finished with a wet sail under Robbie Power and got up by a short head.
Willie Mullins saddled the third, fourth and fifth in Burgas, Tarabiyn and Haymount.
Henderson said: “Obviously with all the hail showers and rain, things have changed dramatically and it’s getting tough going out there.
“Robbie said he wasn’t travelling from a very early stage. He crept and crept and it was a brave ride to come from there.
“He was just good enough. I was standing with Rich Ricci and a few others. They said ‘yes’ and I said ‘no’. I would have settled for half.”