Squouateur (Barry Geraghty) comes to take over from Archive (Jack Kennedy)
©Healy Racing Photos
On the testing ground and with the head-wind they were understandably coming to the end of their tether in the closing stages of the Ryanair European Breeders Fund Novice Handicap Hurdle at Leopardstown. Gordon Elliott brought up a double though, with the Barry Geraghty-ridden Squouateur, and in the end there was no disputing the grey's superiority.
Elliott's earlier winner, No More Heroes, came in the Gigginstown House Stud silks, but on this occasion the maroon and white were carried aboard by Jack Kennedy on the Eoin Griffin-trained Archive.
Archive jumped across Squouateur at the last. They came close again on the run-in too but the Elliott runner stayed on best to land the spoils by three lengths.
Elliott commented afterwards: "He's a grand horse. He might have been a bit lucky as Jack's horse missed the last and he might not have won but for that. We'll see what the handicapper does now."
Much of the pre-race attention focused on the gambled-on favourite, Kinnitty Castle, but he disappointed - beaten from before two out and pulling up in the straight.
The Turf Club Veterinary Officer examined Kinnitty Castle, trained by A.J.Martin, at the request of the Stewards and reported the animal to be coughing post race.
(GC & EM)