Just Wait And See takes top honours at Punchestown

Father-and-son team on the mark in first race of the Festival

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Just Wait And See gamely held off Blue Templar to win the Kildare Hunt Club Fr Sean Breen Memorial Chase for the Ladies Perpetual Cup, the first race of the 2018 Punchestown Festival.

Ridden by Billy Gleeson and trained by his father, John, the victorious 16-1 chance hit the front inside the final half a mile.

But Derek O’Connor conjured up a late rally from Blue Templar, having been under pressure from some way out, and only went down by a head in a thrilling finish.

John Gleeson said: “I only have a handful of horses to keep an interest in the game. This has given me the biggest buzz I’ve ever had in my life.”

Billy Gleeson said: “We’ve had the horse since he was four.

“He’s a real fun horse – a very clever jumper – and God knows how many fences he’s jumped in his life.”

True Self (12-1) showed a smart turn of foot under Rachael Blackmore to win the valuable Killashee Handicap Hurdle.

The Willie Mullins-trained mare shot clear turning into the straight and despite slowing up heading to the last, soon regained momentum to beat Joey Sasa.

Mullins said: “She’s a good mare and Rachael was saying the ground made a big difference.

“She was a very very well bought mare. She was very cheap.

“Rachael is a good jockey, she’s not a lady jockey, she’s a good jockey.”

Mullins’ title rival Gordon Elliott struck back as Commander Of Fleet dominated his rivals in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned point-to-point winner was a 5-1 shot for his rules debut and after being ridden prominently from the off by Barry O’Neill, he streaked clear in the home straight for a wide-margin victory.

Column Of Fire and Santana Plessis finished second and third respectively to give Elliott a one-two-three.

Elliott said “He’s a nice horse and a big thanks goes to Pat Doyle, who trained him to win a point-to-point.

“I’ve only had him from the week after he won his point-to-point. I haven’t galloped him, just cantered him away. Pat did all the hard work with him.

“He’ll be a nice horse with a summer’s grass.”

Pat Fahy’s Kalum River lunged late to land the concluding Dooley Insurances Flat Race under Patrick Mullins.

Barrington Court, runner-up on her previous two starts for Jessica and Kate Harrington, looked set to make it third time lucky when pulling clear in the straight.

But 16-1 shot Kalum River responded to his rider’s urgings and got up late in the day to complete a memorable day for his rider, who steered Un De Sceaux to victory in the BoyleSports Champion Chase earlier in the afternoon.

Just Wait And See takes top honours at Punchestown
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