- Horse Racing
Sir Des fends off Flemenstar for Hennessy win
Sir Des Champs advertised his Gold Cup claims when outstaying Flemenstar in the Hennessy Gold Cup.
The two second-season chasers are the leading lights in the Irish racing scene and Sir Des Champs found plenty for pressure for Davy Russell to repel Flemenstar who was ridden with restraint but did not have enough in the tank to go past the Willie Mullins-trained winner.
Andrew Lynch elected to drop Flemenstar out at the back of the field, which came as a shock as many felt he would look to take advantage of his mount's brilliant jumping and send him on.
With Flemenstar in rear, Quel Esprit was allowed an uncontested lead from his stable companion Sir Des Champs and Joncol.
The order was unchanged for well over a circuit and it was only with eight to jump that Flemenstar was allowed to take closer order.
Flementar jumped into the race at the third from home and second from home, but on each occasion he was reined in by Lynch.
Sir Des Champs is a guaranteed stayer and he was sent for home turning in. Sir Des Champs held a two-length lead on landing after the last and although Flemenstar fought hard, he could not reel in a horse he had surrendered first run to.
Champagne Fever bounced back from his Naas flop to make all the running in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle. Willie Mullins' charge is held in the highest regard and he scoped badly following his Naas defeat. He was given the green light to run after working well and he showed his true colours by making all and sticking on well to hold off Bright New Dawn. The Grade One race lost a slice of interest as second favourite Waaheb tumbled early on, but he walked away unscathed.
Boston Bob maintained his unbeaten record over fences, but it was a close-run thing as he cut down Texas Jack right on the line in the Dr. P.J. Moriarty Novice Chase. Another horse held in high regard by the Mullins team, he is a horse packed with stamina and it was only on the run to the line that he started to motor.
Boston Bob looked in trouble as a slow leap at the second last saw jockey Paul Townend lose his position. He was fourth jumping the final fence, but stayed on with real gusto once his rider asked for maximum effort and his powerful finish enabled the favourite to grab the Grade One contest.
Our Conor extended his winning sequence to three with a brilliant success in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle. Willie Mullins had the first two in the betting for the Grade One event, but Diakali and Blood Cotil were comprehensively outpointed by 10/3 shot Our Conor who travelled supremely well, took up the running at the last and sauntered clear on the run to the line.