Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Panther pounces at Punchestown

Paul Nolan's Panther Claw came out on top at Punchestown
Paul Nolan's Panther Claw came out on top at Punchestown

Mikey Fogarty guided Panther Claw to a gutsy victory in the Amateur National For The Conyngham Cup Handicap Chase at Punchestown.

The Paul Nolan-trained 11-4 favourite was always on the heels of the leaders and was part of a breakaway group of three rounding the home turn.

When nearest rival Current Resession came down at the second-last, Fogarty had to keep Panther Claw up to his work to beat Spot The Boss by two lengths, with Miss Pepperpot well back in third.

Nolan said: "That was Panther Claw's first run in a handicap and after Liz's (Doyle) horse beat him the last day, he received a mark of 116, which we were hoping he'd be competitive from.

"I thought today's race cut up a bit and there wasn't much depth to it and it didn't look a wonderful contest.

"That said, he jumped well and that basically won it for him as there was plenty of birch flying over the last few! He's a slow horse and he wants every yard of that trip."

Jessica Harrington was left plotting a path back to the Punchestown Festival with Madam Bovary after she landed the Festival Hospitality From 99 Euros Beginners Chase.

The 4-1 chance swept to the front rounding the home turn and kept on well to beat Toon River by four and three-quarter lengths under Robbie Power.

Harrington said: "She was good - she had two nice runs over fences, behind Mikael D'Haguenet and up north, when I thought she'd win over Christmas.

"Coming here I thought she'd win and she is a brilliant jumper and that's down to Jamie Codd, who did all the jumping with her last year when she was with him (and trainer Willie Codd). We'll look for a mares Listed race and hopefully she'll come back here for the Festival."

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