Landofhopeandglory continues chasing progression at Roscommon

Mon 25 Sep 2017

Landofhopeandglory led home a one-two for leading owner JP McManus in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Kilbegnet Novice Chase at Roscommon.

The Joseph O'Brien-trained Landofhopeandglory was one of the top juvenile hurdlers in Ireland last season, winning his first three starts before going on to finish fifth in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham and second in the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown.

He was fourth on his chasing debut at Roscommon in June, but raised his game to get off the mark at Kilbeggan and was still in contention when falling two fences from the finish in a Grade Three novice chase at the Galway Festival on his latest appearance.

Taking on just five rivals at Grade Three level once more, the son of High Chaparral was the 2-1 favourite in the hands of Mark Walsh and while his jumping was not always fluent and his rider had to get to work at various stages of the extended two-mile contest, Landofhopeandglory responded after the final fence to see off Rock On Fruity by half a length.

Walsh said: "He was a little bit cautious early on after his fall the last day, but he's done it well. I was happy with him coming into the straight. I was probably in front a bit soon but when the second horse came to him, it pushed him on again.

"He's only a four-year-old and is still learning the jumping game."

Outsider Inis Meain was a close-up third, a long way clear of the only other finisher Alto Esqua.

Rosie Alice fell at the final obstacle and brought down the weakening Montana Belle, but both horses and both jockeys walked away from the incident.

Frank Berry, racing manager for McManus, said: "That was grand. The second horse probably threw it away at the second-last and the winner battled away.

"He had a hard old fall in Galway and Mark said he was a little bit cowardly early on, but he warmed up to it well and got the job done.

"He'll chip away at those novices for the winter and see how he gets on, he seems to handle the conditions quite well.

"It was a matter of getting today out of the way first and it was a lovely race for it, a grand prize. We'll see how he comes out of it and there will be similar events coming up around the country.

"He's flexible and I'd say going two and a half (miles) wouldn't be a problem to him. He keeps a bit for himself, but maybe that's not a bad thing."

McManus had earlier seen his dual Grade One-winning mare Jer's Girl get back on the winning trail in the Budweiser Maiden.

Gavin Cromwell's stable star claimed successive top-level prizes over hurdles in the spring of 2016, but failed to add to her tally in three starts last season, most recently falling in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Making only her third start on the level, Jer's Girl was a 5-2 chance in the hands of Seamie Heffernan and readily pulled five and a half lengths clear of 6-4 favourite Solo Saxophone.

Cromwell said: "That was great. It's a weight off the shoulders. You can't beat class and its nice to have her back. She loved that ground and I had her fairly right for today."

Considering future targets, the trainer added: "There are such a bunch of good mares at the minute, it's going to be so tough. This was a nice place to start as she was still a maiden on the Flat.

"I'd say the Lismullen Hurdle (Navan, November 12) is an obvious one but after that I'm not sure. I'll have to talk to the lads. The main thing is she comes home safe and sound."

McManus completed a treble as trainer Philip Dempsey and jockey Luke Dempsey combined to land the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Handicap Chase with 5-1 shot Teacher's Pet.

Jockey Dylan Hogan had his claim reduced to 5lb following his win aboard the Johnny Feane-trained Lost History (6-1) in the Roscommon Racecourse Apprentice Handicap.

Gordon Elliott landed the concluding two races of the day, with Burren Life (9-4) scoring in the Roscommon On-Course Vets Maiden Hurdle under Jack Kennedy and 4-11 favourite Flawless Escape making a winning debut under Rules in the bumper in the hands of Nina Carberry.

Carberry was enjoying her third winner from just four rides since returning to action following the birth of her daughter, Rosie.

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