Lucca (noseband) is ridden out by Ronan Whelan
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
Lucca followed-up on his win at Tipperary last month, as he took the Dermot O'Leary Flesk Restaurant Memorial Handicap.
Upped six pounds for that Tipperary success, the Jarlath Fahey trained five-year-old was sent off at 4/1 this evening, drifting from an opening show on-course of 10/3.
Settled behind the leaders in fourth, he was pushed along by Ronan Whelan on the approach to the straight.
He was ridden in third with three furlongs left to race, and got to the front at the furlong pole, keeping on well from there to hold off the fast-finishing Rubenesque (20s to 16s) by half a length.
The runner-up was ridden by Shane Foley for John Murphy, while Carvelas (11/1) was another length and a quarter back in third for Pat Murphy and Donagh O'Connor.
The well-backed favourite Weightfordave (6s last night and from 7/2 to 11/4 on-course) was another length away in fourth for Noel Meade and Oisin Orr.
Fahey said in the aftermath: "Ronan said the ground was probably as quick as he wanted today and we took the chance in coming back in trip today rather than stepping up to 1m 5f at Navan on Friday; we knew the ground would be a bit quicker there so decided to come here.
"We just about got away with the ground but he is an honest horse and Ronan gave him a superb ride and was at him a long, long way out but stayed at it in the end.
"We might step him up to 1m 4f or even two miles at Galway and we'll see how he comes out of this before deciding if he'll run between now and then.
"He is owned and bred by Caroline Mills and Seamus Bergin and I'd be looking forward to going hurdling with him. We'll leave him doing what he is doing for the time being, but hurdling will be down the line."
W.J. Lee, rider of Silas R trained by W.T. Farrell, reported to the Clerk of Scales that his mount hung badly in the straight and lost his action.
G.P. Halpin, rider of All For Nothing trained by Kevin Prendergast, reported to the Clerk of Scales that his mount hung on the bottom bend.
Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes