Anseanachai Cliste prevails in Ulster National thriller at Downpatrick

Sun 26 Mar 2017

Prolific point-to-point winner Anseanachai Cliste overcame being wrong at the weights to land a thrilling renewal of the Toals Bookmakers Ulster National EBF Handicap Chase at Downpatrick.

Having run up a sequence of eight victories, Stephen McConville's nine-year-old, owned by his son Michael, made a successful switch under Rules to take the £15,375 euro first prize in the hands of 5lb claimer Dylan Robinson.

Definite Ruby looked the likely winner when leading over the final fence, but Anseanachai Cliste found more on the dash to the line to prevail by a head from Tulsa Jack, with Georges Conn in third.

County Armagh-based McConville said: "He's one of these horses that just keeps galloping and staying. We had this race on our mind. We thought he might be very low in the handicap.

"We were running out of the handicap today thinking we maybe still had a chance. It worked out well."

The 8-1 winner had been an intended runner in the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but was withdrawn at the request of the stewards, with the matter referred to the British Horseracing Authority.

McConville added: "I wouldn't like to talk about Cheltenham at the moment. We'll see after the inquiry.

"We are here to enjoy the day. Please God it worked out well. He just gallops and stays and showed that in the point-to-points and winning the four-miler in Kinsale at the end of the year.

"He had a wee setback early on and we didn't get him back until Armagh point-to-point. After that things were coming together for him so we decided to come here.

"We'll have to sit down and have a look (at where to go). I'd say we will get a hike in the weights. The Stratford three-and-a-half-miler could be something for him.

"We had a good weight, the trip suited him and the undulating track suited him. We were fairly confident he would run into a place. To win is a bonus."

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