Gordon Elliott’s Zanahiyr was catapulted into Triumph Hurdle favouritism following a stunning display in the Bar One Racing Price Boost Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
The Grade Three contest was arguably the strongest race of its type run this season, with Willie Mullins’ Saint Sam and Joseph O’Brien’s Druid’s Altar also representing strong form.
Approaching the second last, Druid’s Altar was left behind, and it soon became apparent that Jack Kennedy on Zanahiyr was travelling much better than the odds-on favourite.
He was soon sent clear, and Paul Townend quickly accepted the result on Saint Sam, as Zanahiyr (16-5) pulled 14 lengths clear.
The ex-Mick Halford-trained winner is 10-1 favourite for the Triumph with Coral.
“We thought he was nice at home,” said Elliott.
“He did it well in Ballinrobe, and I thought he came on a lot from the race.
“I thought it was a good performance. Jack said he travelled and jumped. He did it all very easily.
“He’s a big horse and is going to get stronger. He’s not just a juvenile and could be a nice horse for those good staying Flat races as well.
“He’ll probably want another run before the Triumph, so he could go to Leopardstown at Christmas or February. We’ll try and keep him and Quilixios apart as long as we can.
“That’s Noel and Valerie Moran’s first Graded winner, so that’s very important as well. They are big investors in the game.”
The Tom Mullins-trained Court Maid (17-2) has thrived for the switch to fences and took her record to three from four in the valuable BARONERACING.COM Porterstown Handicap Chase.
The three-mile-five trip proved no obstacle, and the seven-year-old looks a natural for all the top staying handicaps after pulling 13 lengths clear of the favourite Brace Yourself under David Mullins.
“We’ve always thought the Irish National was her target, but she went ahead of us and won today!” said the successful trainer.
“The prize money was bumped up today, so we’ll see what happens. She has the class. She disappointed at Punchestown in the Florida Pearl – but everything went wrong, so I just put a line through it.”
Advanced Virgo was a 14-1 winner of the Bar One Racing Extra Places Handicap Hurdle, for Charles Byrnes and Kevin Brouder.
Byrnes said: “I’m very happy. He looked to be on a nice mark, because he’d shown improved form on the Flat.
“We’re not having too many winners, which might explain his price – Leopardstown in February might be an option.
“He jumped out to his left early on but then he warmed up.”
Grand Paradis (6-5 favourite) ensured it was a day Elliott would not forget in a hurry, bringing up a four-time for the stable when taking the closing bumper.
Elliott also won the Royal Bond with Ballyadam and the Drinmore Novice Chase with Envoi Allen.