Jockey Bryan Cooper claimed the opening Grade 1 of Leopardstown Christmas Festival 2020 with the victory of Franco De Port today.
On the opening day at the South Co. Dublin track, Cooper secured the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase on the Willie Mullins-trained 8/1 shot.
Last year’s Cheltenham Champion Hurdle runner-up Darver Star was second, four and a half lengths back. Felix Desjy (15/8f) was well-beaten back in third place.
Franco de Port was a record seventh winner in the race for the Closutton trainer.
The winner was the second part of a day 1 double for Mullins who earlier won the Holden Plant Rentals Novice Handicap Hurdle with Dysart Diamond (16/1).
The Aga Khan-bred Zanahiyr (1/2f) completed a hat-trick of wins when taking the Grade Two Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle. The three-year-old quickened away from the opposition in the closing straight under Jack Kennedy.
Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy earlier combined to land the 2m Thorntons Recycling Maiden Hurdle with Wide Receiver (3/1).
Get My Drift (9/2) took the Join Tote.ie With a 10 Euro Risk Free Bet Maiden Hurdle for jockey Jody McGarvey and trainer Mouse Morris.
Uisce Beatha (40/1) stayed on late for his new trainer Pádraig Roche when taking the Bet Through The Free Racing Post App Handicap Hurdle under rider Simon Torrens.
The closing Holden Plant Rentals Flat Race went the way of Noel Meade under jockey Pat Taaffe.
Tomorrow’s racing on Paddy Power Day features two Grade 1 races and the Grade B Paddy Power Chase.