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Sire Du Berlais lifts Lismullen Hurdle honours on seasonal bow

Sun 8 Nov 2020
 Conditional jockey Conor McNamara parted company with Donkey Years in spectacular fashion in the beginners' chase. The rider was unscathed and won the next race on 16/1 chance Youngnedonthehill. (Focusonracing)
Conditional jockey Conor McNamara parted company with Donkey Years in spectacular fashion in the beginners' chase. The rider was unscathed and won the next race on 16/1 chance Youngnedonthehill. (Focusonracing)

Dual Cheltenham Festival hero Sire Du Berlais made a winning return to action in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan.

The JP McManus-owned eight-year-old has won the last two renewals of the Pertemps Final at the showpiece meeting in the Cotswolds for Gordon Elliott, but faced a step up in class and a drop in trip for this two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two.

The blinkered 9-2 chance was on the heels of the leaders rounding the home turn and responded to Mark Walsh’s urgings on the run-in to get up and beat long-time leader French Dynamite by half a length.

Sire Du Berlais asserted in the closing stages

Matthew Smith’s stable star Ronald Pump was the 9-4 favourite on his first start since filling the runner-up spot in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, and was not completely done with when crashing out at the final obstacle. Noel Meade’s Sixshooter finished third.

Elliott said: “It was a good performance. Mark said he needed the whole length of the straight to get there – he wants three miles.

“Obviously I’ll have to speak to Frank (Berry, owner’s racing manager) and JP, but I’d imagine the three-mile race in Leopardstown at Christmas would be the place to go with him now. He has no choice really now but to go for a Grade One.

“He’s been a great little horse around the yard. The Stayers’ Hurdle would look the race for him long-term.”

Elliott gives his verdict on Sire Du Berlais

Paddy Power cut Sire Du Berlais to 10-1 from 16-1 for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next March.

Castlegrace Paddy proved too strong for hot favourite A Plus Tard in the Tote Fortria Chase at Navan.

Henry de Bromhead’s A Plus Tard filled the runner-up spot behind Ballyoisin in last year’s renewal of the Grade Two contest – and having since won a Grade One at Leopardstown and finished a close-up third in the Ryanair at Cheltenham, he was well fancied to go one better.

However, it was clear some way from home it was not going to be entirely straightforward for the 1-2 favourite, as he jumped stickily on occasions under Rachael Blackmore behind his pacesetting stablemate Ornua.

After the latter dropped away early in the home straight, Pat Fahy’s stable star Castlegrace Paddy (9-1) took over the lead, with both A Plus Tard and Eclair De Beaufeu in hot pursuit.

In the end it turned into a straight shootout and try as he might, A Plus Tard could never quite get on terms with Castlegrace Paddy, who passed the post half a length to the good in the hands of Bryan Cooper.

“He jumped brilliant and himself and Bryan seem to get on very well,” said Fahy.

“Hopefully we can keep going in this direction. We won the Hilly Way Chase in Cork a couple of years ago, but didn’t have a great year after that, so we won’t get too carried away.

“More than likely we’ll look at Leopardstown over Christmas. He’s beaten a horse there that will probably improve a lot, but so will ours – I’d rate him him a serious horse.

“Maybe if the ground was good you’d be looking to go up in trip, but on that sort of ground I think that (two miles) is his trip.”

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