Turf War battles to a victory
Michael Hourigan received bountiful compensation for Church Island's Kerry National reverse when Turf War won the Guinness Handicap Hurdle at Listowel yesterday.
Hourigan hit the crossbar on Wednesday when his popular 10-year-old lost out by a length to Northern Alliance.
It was a different story 24 hours later, however, as Turf War initiated a 20/1 shock in the feature event on day five of the Harvest Festival.
Once the front-running Fingers began to tire, Adrian Heskin's mount cleared the final flight in unison with Tramp Stamp.
Tramp Stamp arguably held a shade more momentum on the run-in, but Turf War picked up gamely on the rail to pounce with a head to spare.
Valain was third, while Fingers gained a deserved lump of the prize-money in fourth.
Hourigan commented: “We planned to hold him up as long as possible. He's a very accurate jumper, very swift, and he'll make a lovely chaser.”
Celtic Soprano (12/1) returned from a 10-week absence with a game win in the hands of Willie Supple in the FBD Insurance Handicap.
Trainer Paul Deegan said: “We got out of jail today — we got the last run on them but it worked to our advantage.
“She is easy to pick races for as she can run over a mile and six to two miles on any ground.”
Billy Lee's enterprising tactics paid off on 7/2 favourite The Pier in the TP Walsh Memorial Handicap. He stole a march on Joe Murphy's runner and had half a length to spare from Captain Cole.
“He is improving and will be better with age. He will go on soft, but is better on better ground,” said the Co Tipperary trainer.
Tony Martin and Ruby Walsh team up in search of more Harvest gold on the penultimate day of the Listowel Festival today, but may find it difficult to match their success in Wednesday's Kerry National.
Martin's Reisk Superman heads the weights for the Southhampton Goodwill Chase, but the 11-year-old may not have enough to deal with Holly Tree.
The pair may have to be content with a minor placing again with Pires in the South West Bins Novice Hurdle. Pires beat Tribes And Banner when scoring at Killarney, but preference is given to the Eoin Doyle trained Satu to return to the winner's enclosure after finishing second to The Hedge at Downpatrick at the end of last month.