Kilcruit suffers shock defeat as 1-14 favourite on hurdles bow

Top-class bumper horse Kilcruit suffered a shock defeat on his hurdling debut at Cork.

The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old won at the Dublin Racing Festival and the Punchestown Festival last season, as well as filling the runner-up spot behind stablemate Sir Gerhard in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.

The Stowaway gelding was a prohibitively priced 1-14 favourite to make a successful reappearance in division one of the Follow Us On Instagram Maiden Hurdle.

But having raced alongside Henry de Bromhead’s Largy Debut for much of the way, Kilcruit was ultimately left trailing in the 6-1 shot’s wake, with 10 lengths separating them at the line.

Mullins’ assistant, David Casey, said: “Sean (O’Keeffe, jockey) said he didn’t travel through the race and was beaten early. We have no other excuse than that at the moment anyway.

“He said he jumped well but then was flat at the third-last and that’s why he was missing them. We’ll have a look and see.”

Davey Roche, assistant to De Bromhead, said of the winner: “He had been working really well coming here and we thought he was a nice horse.

“It was probably an ideal race for Kilcruit getting a lead off us, but our fellow jumps and travels.

“Where we go after this, I don’t know. He is a good horse I’d say – he jumps and travels and once they do that, you’re half way there.”

Dysart Dynamo winning at last season's Punchestown Festival
Dysart Dynamo winning at last season’s Punchestown Festival (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Mullins team gained some compensation in division two, with dual bumper winner Dysart Dynamo justifying 8-13 favouritism with a 19-length success.

“We think he’s a fair horse,” said Casey.

“Sean said he did everything right, he jumped well, but was having a little look around in front. On the whole he galloped away and Sean said he didn’t realise he was so far in front as he was doing it easily.

“He’s not exuberant at home, but he does his job and does it well. His jumping is very good

“He has a huge engine and when he goes jumping fences, he’ll be very good.”

Nell’s Well claimed a surprise victory in the Grade Three Singletons Supervalu Stayers Novice Hurdle.

The Sean O’Brien-trained mare was a widely unconsidered 25-1 shot, but proved eight lengths too strong for 6-5 favourite Churchstonewarrior, with Mark McDonagh the winning rider.

O’Brien said: “Nearly every year there’s a small entry for this race and I remember having a nice mare years ago, Outlaw Princess, placed in it.

“Black type is what it’s all about. I said to Mark going out to ride her to get home and try to pick up the pieces. I thought he did that better than I could have envisaged.

“Did I expect that? No. But over three miles on soft ground, you’re just hoping one or two don’t step up to the mark and that’s what happened.

“The race fell apart and she just kept galloping – and her jumping was unbelievable.”

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