Jody McGarvey shines with brilliant recovery on Great Field at Leopardstown

Sun 5 Mar 2017

Jody McGarvey made a remarkable recovery on Great Field after almost parting company at the final fence to take the honours in the Irish Stallion Farm EBF Novice Chase at Leopardstown.

After not getting very high at the penultimate obstacle, the Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old jumped the last better but knuckled on landing, causing McGarvey to lose an iron.

Somehow, the jockey was able to keep the partnership intact and, as the 15-8 favourite had a handy lead, Great Field had enough in hand to go on and score by eight lengths from Don't Touch It to give owner JP McManus a one-two.

Former top hurdler Identity Thief put in a much-needed clear round but finished a well-beaten fourth of the five runners.

McGarvey said: "My heart skipped a few beats, all right. He jumped super in the early part of the race. He was real quick, but just doesn't have a lot of scope. At the last he just knuckled at the back of it. I was rolling around on his back, but luckily I kept the partnership intact.

"He was very low over the last three at Gowran the last day and it was the same at the second-last today. He has a fair engine and is well able to pick himself up at the back of one after making a mistake and gallop on.

"I went up the straight with only one iron, but I had enough as he had put the race to bed at that stage. Thankfully it didn't cost us."

Mullins said: "It was a great performance by horse and rider. He's improved a lot from Gowran, and should keep improving. We'll have to find another target for him.

"I don't really want to go to Aintree and I don't think there is anything for him at Fairyhouse, as I don't want to go over two and a half miles in the Ryanair."

Hidden Cyclone put up a typically game performance as he gave weight to younger rivals in the Foxrock Cup Hurdle and set up a double for absent trainer John 'Shark' Hanlon.

The 12-year-old was winning for the 17th time in his career and took his earnings to nearly £450,000 with a do-or-die effort.

Hanlon's stable star set his stall out from the start by making the running under Danny Mullins. Though Bonbon Au Miel led over the final flight, Hidden Cyclone (11-4 favourite) found more on the run-in and wore down that rival to score by three-quarters of a length.

The winning rider said: "He made a mistake early on that you would forgive a novice for doing, but not from him.

"He jumped a bit right afterwards, and I had to let him regain his confidence down the back. In fairness he battled really well at the death.

"I was half a length down after the last but was confident he would get there. He's very tough."

Hanlon's second winner came courtesy of Camlann (9-4 favourite), who took the Coral.ie Handicap Hurdle, seeing off Joshua Lane and Grand Partner under 3lb claimer Rachael Blackmore.

It was a quick turnaround for Camlann following a narrow defeat at Navan on Saturday.

"He wouldn't have run today if Shark didn't think he could handle it," said Blackmore.

"He's a horse that takes his work, and we gave him a little trot down the road this morning and he was fresh so there was no reason why he shouldn't run."

Mr Diablo (16-1) scooped the 29,000-euro first prize in the TRI Equestrian Handicap Chase for trainer Philip Dempsey and his jockey son, Luke.

Dempsey senior said: "I'm delighted for the owner, who hasn't been well. He might go back to Punchestown for the race he was second in last year, and long term he could be a Galway Plate horse."

Karl Thornton's Paper Lantern (11-2) led on the run-in under Donagh Meyler to claim the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase, while Mark Enright steered home the Mouse Morris-trained Wishmoor (12-1) in the TRI Equestrian Superstore & Cafe Maiden Hurdle.

Joseph O'Brien saddled the first three home in the TRM Excellence In Equine Nutrition (Pro/Am) Flat Race, led by the Jamie Codd-ridden High Tide (9-1) with Us And Them second and Cornelius Sulla third.

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