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Helvic Dream stays on best to make breakthrough over flights

Helvic Dream, left, cuts down Angostura Helvic Dream, left, cuts down Angostura
© Photo Healy Racing

Former Group 1 winner Helvic Dream got off the mark over flights when collaring Angostura in the Navan Ford & Opel Maiden Hurdle.

Things were getting tight at the head of affairs between the final two flights, but Helvic Dream wasn't involved in any barging as he made his effort in sixth behind the leaders.

He stayed on into fourth at the last, but a blunder which saw his nose meet the ground certainly did him no favours.

Remarkably, he was back in stride almost immediately for Sam Ewing and the pair kept coming.

They motored into second in the closing stages and grabbed Angostura in the final strides to score by half a length at 11/2.

The runner-up was backed from 12s to 7/1, and was a length and three-quarters in front of morning-price mover Claude Du Val (10/1) who ran a solid race in third on debut.

Noel Meade said: “That was great. The danger was getting home in the ground and then the last didn't help.

“He actually stuck at it well in the ground. Finbar (Cahill) was in Mexico and Tom (Hendron) was in the Canaries and I said to them that I thought he'd win and then I started to worry about the ground.

“I nearly would have preferred if it stayed raining and it was kind of loose.

“We'll see what happens, it's taken him a while to get the hang of it. First we had to get him to settle, which took a long time.

“He's jumping very well at home and he is very good. I'd say he will be better when he gets a little bit better ground, he does like it soft but a little bit better than that.

“He's still novicey for anything big, so I would have thought we'll try and get another run into him somewhere and then tip along. He will go back on the Flat again this year.

“I said the other day that if he was in a Group race (on the Flat) I'd fancy him because he's that well in himself.”

Helvic Dream came home fifth in maiden hurdles at Fairyhouse and Leopardstown prior to today.

He won the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup over an extended mile and a-quarter at the Curragh in May 2021.

Paddy Power halved him from 66/1 to 33/1 (non runner money back) for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The Raceday Stewards enquired into an incident between the second last and the last hurdle involving Angostura, ridden by J.W. Kennedy, Ascending, ridden by D.J. O'Keeffe, Gaucher (GB), ridden by P. Townend, and Karacole (FR), ridden by J.J. Slevin where it appeared Gaucher (GB) got tight for room on the inner. Evidence was heard from the riders concerned. P. Townend stated that his mount ran too free, two horses came around him and the riders on the outside are keeping tight but he holds his ground and is able to quicken up. J.W. Kennedy stated that he jumped the second last three wide, held his line and got a bump when the incident happened. J.J. Slevin stated that he went down the inner, as the race develops his mare is not quick enough to hold her position and does not suffer any interference. D.J. O'Keeffe stated that he rode his line to the last hurdle. Having viewed the recording of the race and considered the evidence, the Raceday Stewards found D.J. O'Keeffe in breach of Rule 214 in that he had ridden improperly(first offence), and having considered his record in this regard the Raceday Stewards suspended him for seven race days.

Additional reporting by Gary Carson

About Michael Graham
Michael has worked in horse racing journalism for more than 15 years, having also written a weekly betting column on Gaelic football and hurling for a newspaper. He is involved in writing the My Racing Story features on this website. He spent a year in South Africa completing a Diploma in Business Administration and also studied Newspaper Journalism in Belfast. He enjoys playing 5-a-side football on a regular basis.