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Darrens Hope causes 20/1 upset in Florida Pearl

Darrens Hope and Danny Mullins won the Grade 2 Florida Pearl for trainer Robert MurphyDarrens Hope and Danny Mullins won the Grade 2 Florida Pearl for trainer Robert Murphy
© Photo Healy Racing

Darrens Hope caused an upset when making most to see off some better fancied rivals in the Grade 2 Liam & Valerie Brennan Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown.

The most experienced of the quintet that faced the starter, the mare was sent straight to the front by Danny Mullins from the outset.

A former Grade 3 winner over hurdles, the Robert Murphy-trained mare put her chasing experience to good use, taking lengths out of her rivals and finding every time Mullins asked her for a big jump.

Race favourite Idas Boy made a bad mistake early in the contest and was eventually pulled up by Jack Kennedy before the fourth last. However, Minella Crooner looked a serious danger to the Murphy mare turning into the straight, eventually getting to the lead at the last fence.

To the credit of both Darrens Hope and Danny Mullins, the partnership responded when headed, battling back well on the inside to get back up close home.

“That's mighty, it's the best win she ever had. We knew that she was in great form,” said Robert Murphy.

“She has to be out in front, if she's in behind she doesn't want to know anything about it.

“I've milking cows all my life and I've always had love for horses. Since I was a child I loved horses and I'm lucky to have a good mare like her.

“Her mother was a great mare but she's every bit as good as her and I'm wicked lucky to have her.

“It was great to be able to come up today and run in a Grade 2, for me to breed her and train her at home. I ride her out every morning.

“She's a great mare to eat and we don't be too hard on her. When she's fit, she's fit.”

The winner holds an entry in the Troytown and he added:- “We don't know if she'll run. We'll see how she is after this.”

Additional reporting by Gary Carson

About John O'Riordan
John has worked for the Press Association since 2022. He also writes a weekly column for The Irish Field and is a regular contributor to the Irish Racing Yearbook. He has previously written for the Racing Post, Irish Examiner and Irish Daily Mirror. He has been involved in racing for over three decades; having experience as a syndicate member, sole owner and breeder.