Hennessy Gold Cup
|Grade 1, Leopardstown
3m, Class 1
|Sunday 9th February 2014|
1 Last Instalment 8/1
2 Tidal Bay 5/2
3 First Lieutenant 7/4F
7 ran Distances: 8½l, ½l, ½l
TIME 6m 26.70s (slow by 44.70s)
Last Instalment put up a superb performance as he jumped his rivals into the ground in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.
A brilliant novice but off the track for nearly two years until he returned with a promising third at Thurles last month, Philip Fenton's nine-year-old tracked Roi Du Mee into the first two fences but jumped so well that Brian O'Connell found himself in front, and there he stayed.
Last Instalment (8-1) kicked into a clear lead on the home bend and ran on strongly to keep the opposition at bay, with Tidal Bay, who looked to be dropping away at one stage, running on down the straight to grab second spot.
O'Connell said: "He was exceptional. It wasn't the plan to make the running, but it's worked out. We went very slow and I found myself in front after the second, so rather than pulling and dragging him I thought it better to let him lob along in front rather than being in behind.
"I kicked off the bend and he winged the second-last. He's a proper one.
"All credit to Philip Fenton. He's looked after him and has taken his time with him. He hasn't rushed, so it's fair play to the owners. This is special. You have to be thinking of the Gold Cup now. I'm delighted to have my day."
The trainer added: "It was a great performance and he jumped great. It wasn't ideal to be as handy as that, but after the first fence Brian had little option. Brian has a 100 per cent record on him (under Rules) - he rides him very well.
"It was a bit of a concern coming here on just his second run back, taking on that sort of competition, but he was brilliant."
Last Instalment was predictably slashed in price to around the 8-1 mark for the Gold Cup, but Fenton accepts the prospect of faster ground could be an issue at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
He said: "The ground would be a concern in the Gold Cup as there's a big chance it would dry up. We'd be happy to see rainfall. I'm hoping there's still a pinch of improvement to come. It's happy times."
The Hennessy Gold Cup
3m , Race Value: €160,000
Going: Heavy, Soft in places
||2. Last Instalment 8/1
ch g Anshan - Final Instalment
|Philip Fenton||B.T. O'Connell|
8 1/2 L
|7. Tidal Bay 5/2
b g Flemensfirth (USA) - June's Bride
|Paul Nicholls (in GB)||R. Walsh|
|1. First Lieutenant 7/4F
ch g Presenting (GB) - Fourstargale
|6. Texas Jack 14/1
b g Curtain Time - Sailors Run
|Noel Meade||P. Carberry|
|4. Lyreen Legend 13/2
b g Saint des Saints (FR) - Bint Bladi (FR)
|D. T. Hughes||B.J. Geraghty|
|3. Lord Windermere 6/1
b g Oscar - Satellite Dancer
|J.H. Culloty||D.N. Russell|
|5. Roi Du Mee (FR) 14/1
b g Lavirco (FR) - British Nellerie (FR)
|Gordon Elliott||D.J. Condon|