/ Racing

Enda Bolger scores cross-country success

Updated: Tuesday, 23 Apr 2013 19:07 | Comments

Zest For Life provided 18-year-old jockey Tim Donworth with his first ever winner
Zest For Life provided 18-year-old jockey Tim Donworth with his first ever winner

Enda Bolger claimed his third win in the last four runnings of the Kildare Hunt Club FR Sean Breen Memorial Chase as Zest For Life took top honours in the traditional curtain-raiser to the Punchestown Festival.

Run for the Ladies Perpetual Cup, the three-mile heat is contested around the cross-country circuit, a discipline at which Bolger excels.

Zest For Life was just one of four runners for the cross-country king, with Mount Sion, Keep On Track and red-hot 7-4 favourite Near Perfection in the field - but the latter parted company with Kevin Power at a very early stage when going through the water-splash.

Zest For Life (4-1), winner of this race in 2010, appeared to be enjoying himself from an early stage and kicked clear from the home turn under 18-year-old rider Tim Donworth to score by seven and a half lengths from Lord Hawkfield.

Bolger said: "That was very nice. It's the jockey's first winner - he hadn't even ridden a winner of a point-to-point, so I'm chuffed for him.

"He could come back here for the cross-country race on Saturday and I might take him to France as there's a good race at Le Lion D'Angers at the end of May."

The bragbet.com Handicap Hurdle went to 16-1 chance Il Fenomeno for trainer Noel Meade and jockey Paul Carberry.

A smart novice hurdler last season and a fair fifth in the fiercely-competitive Boylesports.com Hurdle at Leopardstown in January, the seven-year-old had been well beaten at the big festivals at Cheltenham and Fairyhouse on his two most recent starts.

However, always travelling well on this occasion, he moved menacingly to the lead jumping the final flight and finished off well to hold on by half a length from Sizing Machine.

Enchanted Forest and Saint Gervais were third and fourth respectively, with favourite Tasitiocht fifth.

Meade said: “He jumped great the whole way and was able to save something for the finish.

"You'll probably see him jump fences over the summer."

Champion trainer Mullins opened his account for the Festival as Moyle Park justified favouritism in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper.

Winner of a Leopardstown bumper over Christmas when trained by Harry Kelly, the five-year-old changed hands for £250,000 at Cheltenham's Brightwells Sales in January and had been saved specifically for this race since.

The 7-4 market-leader was never far off the pace in the hands of the trainer's son Patrick and went to the front half a mile from home.

The challengers were queuing up at the top of the home straight, but Moyle Park dug deep to hold off Wrath Of Titans by three-quarters of a length.

Don Cantillon's Classic Move ran an excellent race to finish third.

Mullins said: “He just pulled and pulled and I thought to myself that there's no way he can keep that up. He must have a fair engine.

"He's won €59,000 today, which is about as much as the Cheltenham bumper, so he doesn't need to do anything else this season.

"He'll go over hurdles and he gallops and he stays. I'm not sure about his trip, but he'd have no problems going further on that showing."

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