Mossback (Bryan Cooper, far-side) and Castello Sforza (Barry Geraghty) get ready to battle it
©Healy Racing Photos
In an exciting conclusion to the I.N.H Stallion Owners European Breeders Fund Maiden Hurdle it looked like Mossback (5/1) would be claimed by Castello Sforza (8/11 favourite). However the former toughed it out best to prevail in race three at Punchestown.
< Castello Sforza and Barry Geraghty seemed to narrowly edge ahead on the run-in, but the Gigginstown House Stud-owned and Bryan Cooper-ridden Mossback (a son of Yeats like the opening winner, Kilfenora) proved too determined a foe and he got the best of it near the finish for a neck victory.
Connections lost out in the previous heat with the odds-on Apple's Jade and the successful handler of Mossback, Gordon Elliott said: "He's a three-mile chaser down the road and loves soft ground. He won a bit snug in the end as I thought we were in trouble after the last. When he got stuck into him he picked up and was away again.
"We'll have a look to see how the ground turns up at Fairyhouse, and he could go for a novice handicap. If we could get another win before the end of the season it would be a bonus."
The Stewards enquired into an incident after the turn into the straight involving Castello Sforza, ridden by B.J. Geraghty, placed second, Mossback, ridden by B.J. Cooper, placed first, A Rated, ridden by M.P. Walsh, placed fourth and Mighty Stowaway, ridden by B. Hayes, placed third, where it appeared that A Rated received interference when Mighty Stowaway manoeuvred to make a challenge.
Evidence was heard from the riders concerned.
Having viewed the recording of the race and considered the evidence, the Stewards were of the opinion that the incident was caused by B. Hayes riding carelessly and consequently suspended him for 2 racedays having taken his previous record into consideration.
(AM & EM)