Ned Buntline shoots to prominence
Ned Buntline with happy winning connections
(Healy Racing Photos)
The son of Refuse To Bend was backed off the boards (from 11/10 in the morning, and from 1/2 into 1/3f on track) and was ridden patiently by Nina Carberry. Ned Buntline was not remotely pressurised when moving to challenge a furlong out and soon quickened well clear of Milan Bound for a five and a half lengths win.
Meade's body language on greeting the winner gave away some of his admiration for the gelding and he later said “he's a good horse – the best we've had or a while.
“Nina said he had a bit of a blow there but he has never really come off the bridle at home. He's twice the horse now, compared to last year, and has filled out since the spring.
“I'll have to talk to J.P. (McManus, owner) and Frank (Berry, Racing Manager) but I'd prefer to go jumping with him next.
With the decision on whether to go jumping or stay on the level pending, Stan James report plenty of support for him in their Weatherbys Champion Bumper market at the Cheltenham Festival.
Having initially cut the four-year-old to 20/1 from 25's, they were forced to slash those odds into 12/1.
Meade's affinity with America's Wild West is well known through his horses' names, and the multiple Champion Trainer also added “Ned Buntline was the fellow who made the gun for Wyatt Earp!”
Meade's earlier winner Texas Jack was, in the 19th century, himself an associate of Buntline's while his 21st century Co Meath stablemate Bat Masterson also received a revolver from Buntline. Meade also trains Wyatt Earp's 'brother' Virgil Earp!
Further reporting by Gary Carson
Declan Bates delivered the perfect waiting ride on the Philip Rothwell trained Saoirse Dun (12/1), winner of the Thoroughbred County Novice Handicap Steeplechase at Naas today.