Bilko leads Stretchingthetruth (white cap) over a hurdle
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
Stretchingthetruth overcame adversity to maintain his 100% record in the opener at Punchestown, the Free BETDAQ Trading Software On BETDAQTRADERS.COM Maiden Hurdle.
Successful in a point-to-point at Dromahane for Nicky Stokes, the son of Gold Well then won a bumper at the Punchestown Festival on his debut for Noel Meade and JP McManus.
Having his first start over flights this afternoon he was settled in mid-division, making a bad mistake at the first.
His jumping was better after that error, and he closed on to the heels of the leaders after the fourth last.
The 2/5 chance was pushed along to challenge entering the straight, but lugged to his left and was almost carried out on the run to the last as Bliko veered left.
The successful bay gelding was ridden in third after that flight, and rallied gamely under pressure, getting up in the shadow of the post to prevail by a head.
Gordon Elliott was responsible for the second and third, with newcomer Bilko (4/1) filling the runner-up spot under David Mullins, half a length in front of Robin Des Mana (12/1) and Keith Donoghue.
Noel Meade said afterwards: "Nothing much went right as he made a hames of the first and didn't jump particularly well after that. He does jump well at home but that can happen. He was nearly knocked down at the last but still won.
"It was workmanlike and he may be better on slower ground. He hung a bit of the bend but has never hung at home and it may be greenness. He will have to improve an awful lot."
Mark Walsh added: "He was probably just going a bit too quick to the first and ended up on a horses tail. He jumped okay the rest of the way around and the ground is lovely.
"He is still raw and green. He just lugged out up the straight and David's horse had a look at the wing and in fairness to my fella he could of went out through it but he kept going straight.
"Once he jumped the last he knuckled down well. He was game and put his head down. You'd be hoping there would be a good bit of improvement in him."
Additional reporting by Alan Magee