Kala Conti upstaged her better-fancied stablemate Mighty Bandit to provide Gordon Elliott with a third victory in the last four runnings of the Mercedes-Benz South Dublin Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown.
The Cullentra handler saddled Zanahiyr and Fil Dor to claim back-to-back wins in the Grade Two contest in 2020 and 2021, while subsequent Triumph Hurdle heroine Lossiemouth struck gold for Willie Mullins last season.
Having made a big impression on his hurdling debut at Punchestown, Mighty Bandit was the 13-8 favourite to double his tally in the hands of Elliott’s stable jockey Jack Kennedy, with Kala Conti rated his biggest threat by bookmakers at 7-2.
The latter was narrowly beaten by the reopposing Nurburgring in a Grade Three at Fairyhouse last month, but under a positive ride from Danny Gilligan turned the tables in determined fashion – digging deep to beat the Mullins-trained Kargese by three-quarters of a length, with Nurburgring a close-up third and Mighty Bandit disappointing in ninth.
“It was a good performance, she was tough,” Elliott said of the winner. “She didn’t lose much in defeat the last day, only that she got beat. We’re happy today.
“I’d say she likes a good gallop, she’ll stay very well.”
Of Mighty Bandit, he added: “Jack said he thought he was cantering everywhere but he just cut out. We’ll get him checked out and see.”
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