/ Racing

Magical McCoy strikes for O'Brien

Updated: Friday, 27 Dec 2013 16:27 | Comments

Tony McCoy on board Plinth gets up to beat Ruby Walsh on board Ivan Grozny
Tony McCoy on board Plinth gets up to beat Ruby Walsh on board Ivan Grozny

Tony McCoy was at his brilliant best as the Aidan O'Brien-trained Plinth claimed a last-gasp victory in the Paddy Power iPad App 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Willie Mullins' French recruit Ivan Grozny was all the rage for the two-mile contest and the even-money favourite moved sweetly through the race in the hands of Ruby Walsh.

The market leader quickened to lead approaching the final flight, but McCoy and O'Brien's decent Flat runner Plinth (3-1) had him in their sights.

Ivan Grozny looked set to hold on, but in the dying strides the JP McManus-owned Plinth eroded the deficit and got up by a head.

O'Brien said: "We're delighted with that. He was green at the last and I thought he lost his chance there, but he quickened back up well. It was a great ride by AP to get him rolling again, but he showed a good turn of foot.

"He's a horse that JP has always liked and that was a lovely first run, he thought he would make a jumper and he has a lot more experience at this than me.

"It's nice to have a winner for JP here. It's been a long time since I've had one for him at this track and the lads at home have done a great job with him.

"Future plans depend on how he comes out of this race and we'll leave it to JP and Frank (Berry)."

RaceBets gave the winner a 25-1 quote for the Triumph Hurdle, and spokesman Joseph Burke said: "This race often falls to an above-average juvenile and last year's winner Flaxen Flare went on to take the Fred Winter at Cheltenham.

"The combination of O'Brien's tremendous strike-rate at the Festival and Plinth's Flat speed, no doubt inherited from his sire Montjeu, means that he will be a very tough horse to pass in March."

Double Irish annihilated his opponents in the Paddy Power Maiden Hurdle.

Gordon Elliott's point-to-point graduate showed little promise on his first two starts over hurdles and was a 16-1 shot to make it third-time lucky in the hands of Davy Russell.

It was clear from an early stage the five-year-old was enjoying his task and after taking up the running leaving the back straight, he swiftly left the chasing pack trailing in his wake.

Double Irish skipped over the final flight and despite being eased right down as he passed the post, Russell's partner still had 13 lengths in hand over 11-8 favourite Champagne James.

Elliott said: "He's improved from his last two runs and he did that well.

"I'm not sure where we'll go now, but he'll make a nice horse in time."

Elliott doubled up for the day as 10-1 shot Rocky Wednesday claimed victory in the Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle.

Lastoftheleaders led into the final flight, but Rocky Wednesday finished best under Robbie Colgan to take top honours by two and a quarter lengths.

Elliott said: "Robbie gave him a great ride. The horse is a bit of a monkey, but he's got bags of ability."

Mullins and Walsh enjoyed a welcome change of luck as Rockyaboya clung on in a pulsating renewal of the Paddy Power Chase.

With over €100,000 on offer for the winner, a huge field of 28 went to post for the fiercely competitive contest, with Rockyaboya a 7-1 shot.

The Mullins-Walsh combination has endured a few disappointing results over the past couple of days, but Rockyaboya travelled strongly throughout and was produced to lead at the final fence.

McCoy and 6-1 favourite Cause Of Causes found top gear on the run-in and looked like claiming the Mullins runner, as he had done in the first race, but Rockyaboya held on by a short-head.

The winner is owned by the trainer's son, Patrick, who said: "I was a lot more nervous standing on the ground!

"I have to give a lot of thanks to a good friend of mine, Paul Byrne, who recommended the horse and I bought him for small money.

"He got different injuries and we weren't able to sell him, but this is absolutely fantastic and it's all worked out for the best.

"Rockyaboya got into the race as bottom weight after Mullins withdrew Popcorn, who is owned by his wife, Jackie.

The trainer said: "For a horse with very little experience to do that was very impressive and it's not too often Ruby gets down to 10st 3lb to ride one.

"That's the first time I've won this race. It's great to get that one as a lot of things have not been going well this week."

Elliott completed a treble in the concluding bumper as 15-8 favourite No More Heroes blitzed his rivals by upwards of 39 lengths.

The trainer said: "He is a big three-mile chaser down the road. He may go for a winners' bumper, but really we will have to try and mind him.

"It has been a great day, and these are the days that really count."

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