One Track Mind held off Jennies Jewel, with Shaneshill crashing out
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Report: Punchestown, Thursday
Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m, 4yo+
ONE TRACK MIND sprung a surprise to deliver more Grade 1 joy for Warren Greatrex and Gavin Sheehan, but there was further final flight woe for Ruby Walsh as the strong-travelling Shaneshill came down.
Greatrex and Sheehan lost their grip on the World Hurdle last month as Cole Harden proved no match for the brilliant Thistlecrack but, in the absence of Colin Tizzard’s star stayer, the pair prospered again with a new flag bearer.
One Track Mind travelled up with the pace before taking up the running having jumped the second last. He stuck to his task well to hold off the gallant mare Jennies Jewel but it was a case of what might have been for Shaneshill.
Sheehan always liked One Track Mind
A delighted Gavin Sheehan could not have heaped more praise on the 10-1 winner, who found only Reve De Sivola too good in the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock in February.
“He’s brilliant,” said Sheehan. “We’ve always liked this horse and we always thought he could be the best horse in the yard. If you take his form with Reve De Sivola, he’s a tough nut to crack.
“I was never really comfortable in the race, I wanted to get him closer because the more company he has, the better, but you see him going down to the last, he’s stuck his head down and battled on. That’s what I like to see.”
While One Trick Mind benefited from the absence of Thistlecrack on Thursday, a meeting over fences may be in their futures, as Sheehan added: “I have always said he could be our Gold Cup type horse. The track and the ground suited him and it’s great [to win a Grade 1 in Ireland].”
Novice chasing on the agenda
Warren Greatrex shares Sheehan’s belief in One Track Mind’s potential over the larger obstacles and has a novice campaign in mind for next season.
He said: “We’ve always loved him and known he’s going to be a good horse. We’ve looked after him and thought we’d save him for Punchestown.
“Haydock was his big test and he ran an absolute cracker in atrocious conditions, against a horse I rate when he’s got those conditions.
“He’s very talented. He’s got a lot of ability, although he’s quite lazy. He’s a chaser and he’s going to be a proper staying chaser. We’ve always said he might be a Gold Cup horse, so you never know.”
Jennies Jewel boosts Vroum Vroum Mag form
While there was frustration for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh following Shanehill’s spill, they will be pleased to see Jennies Jewel put up such a brave display to finish two and a quarter lengths second at 33-1.
The Jarlath Fahey-trained mare, whose racing career may now be over with a date with Presenting booked in, was beaten by Mullins’ Punchestown Champion Hurdle hopeful at Ascot in January.
Alpha Des Obeaux fades
Alpha Des Obeaux was sent off the well-backed evens favourite but was never a factor in the closing stages, having travelled kindly enough in third throughout under Bryan Cooper.
Shaneshill was presented from a long way off the pace by Walsh but his fall gifted third to Alpha Des Obeaux, who had enough left in the tank to hold off Diamond King.
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