Gunnery Sergeant and Patrick Mullins
©Healy Racing Photos
By Alan Magee
Gunnery Sergeant completed a great afternoon for Gigginstown House Stud at Punchestown when taking the bumper in the hands of Patrick Mullins.
Mullins was replacing Nina Carberry who has been struck down by food poisoning, and Gigginstown enjoyed a treble on the day following the Grade 3 wins of both Don Cossack and The Game Changer.
The 2/1 chance led approaching the straight and, with the benefit of the rail, stayed on strongly from over a furlong out.
Well-backed evens favourite Golden Birthday challenged wider in the straight but couldn't make any impression in the closing stages going down by three and a half lengths.
There was a gap of over seven lengths back to Robin Des Mana in third.
Steven Clements was given a one day suspension after weighing in 1.6lb overweight on seventh-placed Ardview Boy.
Winning trainer Noel Meade said, "He's a nice horse. Patrick said he was pricking his ears and didn't do much in front. He won a point-to-point for Gordon and he'll go jumping now.
"I was unsure about running but Michael told me to declare him and then make up my mind about the ground. Hopefully he's alright tomorrow. He'd be better on slow ground as he has a round enough action.
"That's Patrick's first ride for me. Nina had a touch of food poisoning and didn't feel well enough to ride. She was actually in hospital for a few days."
(GC & AM)