11 year-old Unowhatimeanharry wins Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown

Unowhatimeanharry on his way to victory in the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown. Credit: Racing Post Photos/Irish Racing Resources.

Unowhatimeanharry (16/1) rolled back the years when winning the Day 3 feature race at Punchestown, the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle over 3 miles. The JP McManus-owned 11-year-old, a twelve-time winner prior to Thursday’s race, was left in the lead when Vision Des Flos made an error at the final hurdle, going on to clinch a three-length victory for jockey Mark Walsh and trainer Harry Fry. The Willie Mullins pair Barcadys (8/1) and Baupaume (9/4f) filled the second and third places a head and a further half-length respectively behind the now four-time Grade 1 winning son of Irish Derby winner, Sir Harry Lewis.

“He means an awful lot to us. We’re absolutely over the moon” declared the winning handler afterwards. “We were coming here in hope rather than expectation. He is 11 years of age and he is here winning a Grade 1, it’s the second time that he has won the race, and we thought that his Grade 1 days, and his winning days, were behind him on his last couple of starts” admitted Fry.

In the other Grade 1 contest on Thursday, Robbie Power and Willie Mullins teamed up to take the Ryanair Novice Chase with Chacun Pour Soi (3/1) by four-and-a-half-lengths from Cheltenham winners Defi Du Seuil (9/4f) and Duc Des Genievres.

Chacun Pour Soi winning the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown. Credit: David Betts.

Willie Mullins wasn’t holding back when asked to comment on the winner, stating:

“I think he could be a star. If he’s as good as I think he is, God knows what will happen.”

The win was the second part of a Willie Mullins double as My Sister Sarah (4/1f), the mount of Paul Townend had taken the previous race, The Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle. The five-year-old chestnut filly beat Noel Meade’s Young Ted (18/1) and the Edward Harty-trained Kilfenora (28/1).

The champion National Hunt trainer soon brought up the treble in the seventh race of the day as Paul Townend guided Elfile (9/10f) to victory in the Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle, with Rhythm Divine taking the runner-up spot under Donagh Myler at 16/1.

Jockey Robbie Power, who won the Ryanair Novice Chase with Chacun Pour Soi, brought up a brace as he also claimed the Day 3 opener, the JLT Handicap Hurdle with 16/1 shot Polished Steel. The Jessica Harrington-trained gelding held off Sil Ver Klass (10/1) by one-and-a-quarter-lengths, with Put The Kettle On (8/1), a further short-head back in third

Twelve-year-old Ballyboker Bridge (12/1), a spare ride for Seán Flanagan who was deputising for the stood-down JJ Slevin, won the longest race in the Irish racing calendar, the Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase over 4 miles 2 furlongs. The winner, trained locally by Peter Maher, coasted to an easy 25-length success ahead of Vital Island (50/1), and the unfortunate favourite Josies Orders (8/11f). The Enda Bolger-trained odds-on favourite had problems negotiating Ruby’s Double the final time round and was unable to adequately recover to provide a serious challenge to the winning bay gelding by Bay Well.

Co. Laois-based trainer Liam Cusack won The Pigsback.com Handicap Chase under Denis O’Regan, when 11/4 favourite Snugsborough Hall was an impressive 11-length winner of the 2m Grade B race, ahead of Impact Factor (7/2) and Croco Bay (16/1).

The final race on Thursday’s card, the four-runner The Kildare Post (C&G) Flat Race, went to Noel Meade’s Sixshooter (8/1), the mount of Mark O’Hare, beating The Big Getaway from the Willie Mullins yard.

Today’s attendance: 20,756.

2018 attendance: 20,204.

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