Highland Charge hangs on for Kingsfurze glory
There was little between the pair in the closing stages, and they did come close together, with Highland Charge (10-1) crossing the line a head to the good.
Sean Flanagan had the Noel Meade-trained Highland Charge in second place as Deploy The Getaway set the pace. The race was wide open at the second last with Vina Ardanza making stealthy progress on the far rail.
Deploy The Getaway looked the meat in the sandwich as Highland Charge and Vina Ardanza made their challenges, leaving those two to battle it out after being short of room between the last two flights. Slip Of The Tongue was two and a quarter lengths away in third place.
The result was allowed to stand following a stewards’ inquiry.
Flanagan said: “We got close after the last, but I won cosy enough. He was good here the last day in what was a nice enough maiden.
“The slower ground today was a big help to him. He’s a lovely horse.”
Diol Ker gave Meade and Flanagan a big-race double when lifting the baroneracing.com Leinster National Handicap Chase.
The eight-year-old came out on top after a pulsating tussle with Ronald Pump, who was reluctant to start and just as reluctant to give way to Diol Ker.
However, the 7-2 joint favourite asserted in the final 100 yards to defeat Matthew Smith’s nine-year-old by half a length. The first two drew 12 lengths clear of long-time leader Darrens Hope in third place.
Flanagan said: “He’s a fine big horse but he takes a bit of riding. He’s a dour stayer and the slower the ground is the better for him.
“I knew we had gone a good gallop and, when we got a bit tight for room at the third last, I decided to take my time and give him a bit of a breather. He’s come home well because of it.
“Noel got the boat to Cheltenham last night and is over there with the horses. We’ll have eight or nine runners.”
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