Renneti strolls home in the absence of Sutton Place
In the first, Diakali ran well to ease home in the Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Hurdle
Ruby Walsh on winner Renneti, meets young fan Ben Denning age 6 from Delvin, Co. Westmeath after the Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle, at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival. Photo: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times
Renneti took full advantage of the late absence of red-hot favourite Sutton Place to win the Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle at Faryhouse.
The Grade Two event looked at the mercy of Gordon Elliott’s smart performer, but it was felt the ground was riding too fast for him, and stablemate Taglietelle, reducing the field to five.
Elliott still fielded three, and his De Plotting Shed led through the early exchanges before Walsh took proceedings into his own hands on Mullins’ 5-2 chance, kicking on approaching the third-last.
De Plotting Shed stuck to his task, but Renneti, who has proved less than straightforward on occasions, was enjoying himself in front and bounded clear to win well.
In the opener, Diakali benefited from an excellent front-running ride by Ruby Walsh to win the Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Hurdle.
With former champion hurdler Jezki sent off the 6-5 favourite, Diakali was available to back at 9-4 and those punters who did so had very little to worry about.
Walsh made sure he went a good clip on the Willie Mullins-trained grey, who was fresh having had just the one run this season since returning from a lengthy absence.
Jezki looked beaten a long way out, but Stars Over The Sea travelled very well before tiring in the straight, having his first run since an outing on the Flat in October.
Walsh was able to give Diakali an easy time in the straight, winning by 20 lengths from Stars Over The Sea, with Hidden Cyclone third. Jezki was last of the five.
Walsh said: “He’s not the most straight forward horse to train, but he was in great nick today. He jumped and galloped.
“He was a high-class horse in his day, and you wondered if he could get back to what he was as a juvenile.”
Meanwhile, Project Bluebook provided John Quinn with a welcome big-race winner when sprouting wings after the last to beat Dandy Mag in the Avoca Dunboyne Juvenile Hurdle.
Fourth in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival, Malton trainer Quinn stepped him up in class on the journey over to Ireland for the Grade Two heat.
Sent off at 9-2 under Barry Geraghty, the four-year-old put in a few sketchy leaps, including at the second-last when he was being manoeuvred for a run up the rail.
On the back foot after that, Dandy Mag and Paul Townend looked set to give Mullins a quickfire double as Ex Patriot’s run began to flatten out.
Geraghty, riding like a man possessed, asked for everything, though, and Project Bluebook responded to win going away by half a length, with the result confirmed following a brief stewards’ inquiry.