01 October 2022

Easy Game fends off Kemboy for Gowran glory

01 October 2022

Easy Game was a comfortable winner as Willie Mullins saddled the first two home in the Grade Two PWC Champion Chase at Gowran Park.

The trainer sent out three of the six-strong field, with Easy Game the 8-11 favourite when starting alongside Kemboy and Franco De Port.

The former two horses were challenging at the head of the field approaching the last fence, where Kemboy made a slight error and Easy Game was left to stride on to a two-and-a-quarter-length victory under Brian Hayes.

David Casey, Mullins’ assistant, said: “Brian said he was delighted with him. He was fresh and well early and he said he came alive when he went to the front going to the third last.

“He said he did it well, he said the ground actually felt a bit dead on him. He’s a nice ground horse. We’re delighted with him.

“We didn’t know what Dollar Value (sixth) was going to do, Brian said there was talk he was going to drop in. They were just waiting to see what he was going to do.”

Casey said: “It worked out in the end and they all ran well. Kemboy ran well, he’s improving the whole time and he’ll probably go to the north (Down Royal for the Ladbrokes Champion Chase).”

When asked if Easy Game could go there as well, he added: “Possibly, but three miles is not really his trip I’d say. We’ll see and a lot will depend on the ground.

“Franco De Port (fourth) started off and he ran really well. He probably just needs a little bit further, it was a very good starting point for him.

“He might go to France in the middle of November for a big chase there. He ran well there in May so might go back for that.”

Joseph O’Brien’s Banbridge made a victorious chasing debut with an untroubled success under JJ Slevin in the Join Gowran Park Racing Club Beginners Chase.

The gelding won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March and looked a natural when jumping fences for the first time under rules, strolling to an eight-and-a-half-length win as the 5-6 favourite.

“He jumped very well. He came from a good point-to-point school in the north of Ireland, we had schooled him a bit at home and he has been very good,” said Slevin.

“You’d be hoping he might achieve something similar to what he achieved over hurdles, you’d be happy with that.

“He has a very good brain for it and was always very good at home. Even over hurdles we were always thinking that a fence would suit him.

“He’s probably not a real winter horse, I think he’s more of a spring horse.”

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