Swingbridge keeps Elliott and Kennedy among winners

Monday, May 13 2019

Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy made hay again on day two of the May festival by teaming up to win the Tote Killarney National Handicap Chase with Swingbridge.

After Sunday’s respective treble and double for trainer and jockey, they consolidated their success as 7-1 shot Swingbridge triumphed by eight lengths from Auvergnat – who had taken this feature race in 2017.

A jubilant Kennedy heaped praise on his winning mount.

“You couldn’t do anything only enjoy that lad,” he said.

“He jumped brilliantly, travelled away and did it well in the end.

“He had a lovely run at Punchestown – and he had a lovely weight today – and I was hoping for a nice run.

“I was always where I wanted to be.”

It was a timely winner too, before Kennedy spends a brief spell on the sidelines.

“I’m going in for an operation tomorrow to get a screw out of my leg,” he added.

“The screw is breaking, so it’s giving me a bit of bother. I’d rather not get held up, because things are going well, but I’ll be back in three weeks – hopefully two.”

Flaxen Flare had already set the ball rolling on an Elliott-Kennedy double in the Sliabh Luachra Hurdle.

The former Cheltenham Festival hero was registering his first win since 2015 in the four-runner conditions event.

Kevin Sexton rode his first winner since May 2018 – and another recent spell out of the saddle – in the Grade Three Seamus Weldon John Deere An Riocht Chase, aboard course specialist Peregrine Run.

The ex-champion conditional has most recently had an operation on his wrist.

A length and three-quarters covered all four runners at the finish, with the Peter Fahey-trained 8-13 winner holding on by a nose from the rallying long-time leader Jett.

Fahey said: “It’s great for Kevin, because he has had issues and is back working with me for (the past) three or four weeks.

“He has his head down now – and fingers crossed, he can go on from here and get back to where he was a couple of years ago.

“He is a great rider, and I hope everything goes right for him now. He will be a big asset for the yard.

“He had an operation on his wrist at Christmas, and today was his first day back.

“He was going to start back on Saturday, and I said to leave it to today because I had Peregrine and Room To Roam (in the opener). Also a big thanks must go to the owners for giving Kevin the spin.”

The BetVictor-backed races went the way of Doctor Duffy in the maiden hurdle and Fiveaftermidnight in the two-and-three-quarter-miler for the mares.

Doctor Duffy justified his status as a well-backed odds-on shot in the opener, winning at the first time of asking over jumps for Charles Byrnes and Philip Enright.

Fiveaftermidnight was a first winner since last autumn for trainer Philip Rothwell and rider James O’Sullivan.

Waterville Run did not get a clear run and went down narrowly to Eamon High in the Easy Clean Limited Handicap Hurdle.

The neck victor overcame a final-flight mistake to prevail for trainer Henry de Bromhead and jockey Rachael Blackmore.

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