Shattered Love initiates Grade One double for Gordon Elliott

Michael O’Leary mare takes advantage of Monalee fall six out at Leopardstown

Mark Walsh and  Shattered Love after their Leopardstown win in the  Neville Hotels Novice Chase. Photograph: Bryan Keane/©INPHO

Mark Walsh and Shattered Love after their Leopardstown win in the Neville Hotels Novice Chase. Photograph: Bryan Keane/©INPHO

 

Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud team won a second Leopardstown Grade One with a mare in just 24 hours after Shattered Love’s dramatic success on Friday.

Any presumption that the Neville Hotels Novice Chase would be little more than a romp for Monalee disappeared when the evens favourite took a spectacular spill six from home.

It was a fall that betrayed the inexperience of a horse with a single previous start over fences and it also claimed one of Monalee’s closest market rivals, Rathvinden, who was unlucky to be brought down.

Gigginstown’s other runner, Dinaria Des Obeaux, was lucky to survive the incident although her chance was gone so in the blink of an eye the 10-1 shot Shattered Love was presented with a golden top-flight opportunity.

With four runs over fences already under her belt, and a 7lb sex allowance helping her too, the giant 17hh mare ultimately proved almost two lengths too strong for her stable companion Jury Duty.

It continued the Ryanair boss’s purple patch after his star mare Apple’s Jade was part of a Gigginstown four-timer the previous day.

JP McManus’s No 2 rider, Mark Walsh, did the steering on Shattered Love and secured a memorable first success for his boss’s great rival.

“I’m usually on the other team so I’m very grateful!” said the rider who on Wednesday got a Grade One in the stewards’ room on Simply Ned.

“It would have taken a good one to beat her anyway. She was winging fences down the back. I was in front six out, in front of all the trouble, and I just left her there,” Walsh added.

Pleasantly surprised

Gordon Elliott, who later completed a long odds Grade One double with Mick Jazz, was pleasantly surprised with how well Shattered Love handled conditions.

“She handled that better ground way better than I thought she would. She loved it and jumped from fence to fence. She was a bit fortunate as there were a few fallers but that’s just the game. She’s got plenty of different options,” he said.

One of those could be the RSA at Cheltenham for which Shattered Love is a 20-1 shot. Monalee drifted to 7-1 for that race on the back of his mishap.

“I was very surprised. It was the complete opposite of what you’d expect from him,” said Monalee’s jockey Davy Russell who didn’t have long to wait for consolation on board Mick Jazz and then Mind’s Eye in a handicap.

Mind’s Eye was a seventh Christmas winner for Henry De Bromhead who later reported Monalee to be feeling the effects of his fall but otherwise unscathed.

“It was a horrific fall and he’s sore down in the yard. So we’ll get him home, see how he is and not rush him. He landed on his head and two horses kicked him so he’s been in the wars,” he said.

Monalee was a rare Christmas reverse for De Bromhead as the Co. Waterford trainer saddled a double on the final day of the festival to bring his holiday haul to seven winners.

Dicey O’Reilly sprang an 18-1 surprise in the maiden hurdle under claimer Dylan Robinson, proving too strong for the Gigginstown hope, Mortal.

“There were a lot of long faces when he got beaten in Cork but we found a problem and he’s been good since. He’s entitled to go for a novice hurdle now as that was a good maiden.” De Bromhead said.

“It’s been a fantastic week. We’ve had some great results. We’re a bit upset about Monalee but that’s all part of it,” he added.

Shock defeat

The Willie Mullins team bounced back from Faugheen’s shock defeat with a third bumper victory of the week courtesy of Minella Encore.

Strong market confidence for both Daly Tiger and The Gunner Murphy meant the winner started 3-1 and he made all under Patrick Mullins.

“I thought Patrick was absolutely fantastic on him. He read him right and was hoping he would improve from the hard race he had the last day, which he did,” Mullins said.

“It’s testament to the horse as he had a very hard race in Fairyhouse. But the experience of that paid off. I was going to go hurdling with him but I think we have to have a change of heart and maybe keep him to bumpers this year,” he added. 

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