Tarquinius & Keith Donoghue jump the last
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
The Gordon Elliott trained Tarquinius bounced back to form as he took the opening race on the final day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase.
The grey, 9yo son of Turgeon won on his penultimate start at Punchestown in November but then disappointed last time out when pulling up in the Porterstown Chase at Fairyhouse, the race won by Murchu.
Ridden by Keith Donoghue, he was sent off at 9/2 (was 13/2 with Paddy Powers this morning). He went on from before the last and kept on well from there to score by an easy ten lengths.
The Tim Doyle trained Jolily finished second at 11/1 under Martin Burke while the Iggy Madden trained Sea Master was a further length and a half back in third at 12/1 under Jody McGarvey.
The Fran Flood trained Lascalahall was sent off the 10/3 favourite under Mark Enright but a bad mistake at the third last put pay to his chances and he finished last of the ten finishers.
Gordon Elliott said afterwards: "I am delighted for his owners Mary & Tom Furlong. Tom put in all the gallops in the new yard and this fellow has more than paid him back now.
"We probably ran him back too soon the last day. He stays really well and he really wants further than this."
After the race the stewards suspended Brian Cawley, rider of Bangonform, for two days. He was ajudged to have continued to hit his mount when his chance of winning or being placed had clearly gone.
(Additional reporting by Alan Magee)