Time To Rocco and Michael O Sullivan win the Dillon Quirke Foundation Mares Beginners Steeplechase © Photo Healy Racing
Michael O'Sullivan continued an amazing week when getting the well punted Time To Rocco up close home to land a gamble in the opening Dillon Quirke Foundation Mares Beginners Chase at Thurles.
For such of the 2m2f contest, those that supported the Colin Motherway trained mare from 22/1 down to 4/1 must have been lamenting their decision as Happy D'ex and Red As Rust led the field a merry dance.
With that pair quickening clear from three out, the race looked between them but O'Sullivan was coolness personified on the eventual winner. Gradually closing on the leaders on the approach to the second last, he really got after his mount on the run to the last.
Taking it up on the run-in, the six-year-old went on to win comfortably from Happy D'ex, with Red As Rust back in third.
Colin Motherway said: "she was crying out for a fence all along as she is a massive big mare. She has won her point-to-point, bumper, maiden hurdle and now beginners chase so has picked up her third E5,000 ITBA bonus, so it is great and it is a great incentive.
"I told Michael to jump off handy, let her jump away and make the running if she was able to, but he said she was caught for toe early on.
"She is as tough as nails and when she turned in she came alive and battled well to the line. That's Michael's second winner for me having also won on her over hurdles and he is riding out of his skin."
He added "we'll probably give her a break now and won't run during the summer. We'll give her a couple of weeks off, look after her as she owes us nothing."
Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes