Gilgamboa set for Irish Arkle after impressive Limerick win

Enda Bolger six-year-old makes it two from two over fences

Gilgamboa impressed to win the Shannon Airport Novice Chase at Limerick. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Gilgamboa impressed to win the Shannon Airport Novice Chase at Limerick. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

 

Limerick report: A tilt at the Irish Arkle looks likely to be next on the agenda for Gilgamboa after Enda Bolger’s classy performer made it two from two over fences in the Shannon Airport Novice Chase.

Winner of the lucrative Boylesports.com Hurdle at Leopardstown at the end of January, the JP McManus-owned six-year-old failed to fire at the Cheltenham Festival but looked the part on his chasing debut at Navan in early November.

Sent off the 7 to 4 favourite stepped up to Grade Two level, Gilgamboa travelled powerfully throughout and appeared to have the measure of main rival Adriana Des Mottes when she crumpled on landing after the final fence.

That race-ending mistake allowed Gilgamboa to coast home 24 lengths clear of Perfect Gentleman, who narrowly denied Wounded Warrior the runner-up spot.

Bolger said: “He’s a very exciting and improving horse and jumping is his forte.

“It is nice to build on his win at Navan and he’s getting very professional. He is very relaxed and settled and the Arkle Chase at Leopardstown could be next for him.”

Gilgamboa’s victory completed a double on the afternoon for McManus and was the second leg of a treble for jockey Mark Walsh.

Eric McNamara’s 11 to 8 favourite Irish Bulletin got the afternoon off to a flyer in the opening Maiden Hurdle.

McNamara said: “He was entitled to win on form and I was surprised he hadn’t won a maiden hurdle before now. He’s won on the right day though and he’ll win races in the future.

“We’ll go down the handicap route with him and, in fairness, it’s heavy out there and he’s a Flat horse at the end of the day.”

Walsh completed his hat-trick aboard 3 to 1 favourite Black Zero in the Woodlands House Hotel Handicap Chase.

Amateur jockey Eoin O’Connell partnered a first racecourse winner on his 20th birthday as he steered 7 to1 shot Captainofthefleet to victory for his father Eamonn.

O’Connell senior said: “That’s only Eoin’s fifth or sixth ride on the track but he’s had two point-to-point winners already. Hopefully he can make it as a professional some day.

“Captainofthefleet won on the Flat and over hurdles here previously and loves it.

“He’ll go to Gowran next for the Pertemps Qualifier but probably won’t run at Cheltenham.”

Willie and Danny Mullins combined to take the GGL Security Mares Maiden Hurdle as 5 to 2 joint-favourite Uranna toughed it out by half a length.

The winning jockey said: “The race worked out well for her and it’s nice to be on one of Willie’s here.

“She jumps well and I think she’s better than what she has shown us before today.”

Trainer Paddy Fegan has Cheltenham ambitions for Melbourne Lady following her 7 to 1 triumph in the O’Kelly Brothers Demolition Mares Handicap Hurdle, while David O’Brien’s The Gatechecker won the bumper.

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