The Derek Kierans-owned Pearl Of The West in the winners enclosure at Punchestown today with Robbie Power and trainer John C McConnell.

Festival winner for McConnell

Three Meath winners at Punchestown today including Pearl Of The West which gave Stamullen-based trainerJohn McConnell his first Punchestown Festival winner when winning the Killashee Handicap Hurdle.

Partnered by Robbie Power, Pearl of the West defeated Cosmo’s Moon to record the seventh victory of her career and her biggest success to date.

"She’s just such a good jumper, hurdles make a big difference to her,” said McConnell.

I was worried about the ground with the rain that fell this morning =, but it was fine for her and the race worked out really for her.

I suppose we’ll have to consider looking at some big handicap hurdles in the future,” he added.

Delta Work capped a strong finish to day one for Gordon Elliott winning  the Grade 1 Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase. 

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old lost his unbeaten record over fences when third in the RSA at Cheltenham but he ended his season a high under Davy Russell to win by a dozen lengths ahead of Discorama with third going to the Cheltenham winner A Plus Tard.

“We were disappointed in Cheltenham that he got beaten but today was his day and Davy gave him a great ride. I’d say the softer ground made the difference,” stated Elliott who ho also won the Goffs Land Rover Bumper for the third time as the €30,000 purchase Festival D’ex began his career in the best possible fashion.

Top amateur Jamie Codd sent this four-year-old to the front with over a furlong to run and Festival D’ex ran right away from his rivals to win by 10 lengths.

Enda Bolger supplied the opening winner of the week when the Ray Barron-ridden Blue Templar upstaged Youcannotbeserious in the Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase For The Ladies Perpetual Cup. The first two home are owned by J.P. McManus.

Front View rounded off the day’s action in the Sanctuary Synthetics Flat Race where he provided J P McManus with his second winner of the day.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained and Derek O’Connor-ridden grey battled on bravely for the last furlong to defeat Jungle Junction by a length.

The brilliant Un De Sceaux lit up the opening day of the Punchestown Festival with a typically brilliant display for back-to-back victories in the Grade 1 BoyleSports Champion Chase. 

“He’s a great favourite and I thought that was just an incredible performance from an 11-year-old to do that in a race like that. He’s a horse with incredible energy and he’s like that every morning, I just don’t know how he does it,” stated trainer Willie Mullins.

The Herald Champion Novice Hurdle went to the irresistible duo of Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh as Klassical Dream followed up last month’s victory at Cheltenham.

The attendance today was 17,464.

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