Gordon Elliott maintained his rich vein of form on day two of the Dublin Racing Festival with another big-race winner while Shane Crawley was also on the mark.
Elliott was the trainer to follow on day one with Apple’s Jade the highlight of a treble, and today he landed the William Fry three-mile Handicap Hurdle with French-bred Dallas Des Pictons.
Jack Kennedy sent the 7/2 joint favourite to the front into the home straight, but Calie Du Mesnil challenged and the Elliott runner battled to win by a neck.
Dallas Des Pictons really toughed it out in the closing stages and held on gamely to score by a neck.
“I liked the way the way he jumped, from the last to the line, when the other horse came like he was going to beat him, he put his head out and galloped again," stated Elliott who confirmed that some of the handicaps at Cheltenham will be considered.
PHOTO - INPHO
Tara-based Shane Crawley landed the opener to get the second day off to a Meath flavour as Sassy Diva won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle for Donagh Meyler
“It was her first run in a handicap and she’d run in some small fields, but luckily she had the class to get through it," said Crawley.
"Donagh is a real cool rider and rides with plenty of confidence, like myself he went through the Tony Martin school," added Crawley in recognition of the experience he gained with Tony Martin.
PHOTO - INPHO
SUMMARY OF REST OF CARD
The Unibet Irish Gold Cup was a select but stunning spectacle as Bellshill battled back bravely to deny Road To Respect in what was one of the most thrilling finishes witnessed at Leopardstown.
Road To Respect, so unlucky in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown's Christmas festival, was sent off the 5/6 favourite to make up for that misfortune and he jumped the last a length in front under Sean Flanagan.
Ruby Walsh, who struck earlier on in the day with Klassical Dream in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle, was once again on the right side of a photo-finish as Bellshill stuck his neck out and was not to be denied. A short-head was the official winning margin.
Le Bague Au Roi did the business for the visiting English connections in the Flogas Novice Chase as she made every yard of the running under Richard Johnson to justify Warren Greatrex's shrewd shout to pay a visit to Leopardstown with his stable star who has now won 14 of her 19 starts.
Klassical Dream won the Grade 1 Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle under a hard-working ride from Ruby Walsh to deny stable-companion Aramon in a thrilling finish.
The first Grade 1 of the day, the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle, was won in emphatic fashion by the Joseph O'Brien-trained Sir Erec who won at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Speaking after the final race of the weekend, Leopardstown CEO Pat Keogh said:
"For an event only in its second year we are absolutely delighted with how Dublin Racing Festival has established itself.
"A big thank you must go to all the owners and trainers for providing blockbuster entertainment on track and to our wonderful sponsors from both days without whom, a day like this wouldn't be possible.
"Finally a big thanks to all our supporters and those who attended, we're delighted to see it has made its mark with racing fans across the pond."