Racing: Macs Joy enriches Ireland's treasury of talent

There were only four runners in the final big race of the Festival here yesterday but they still managed to complete the impression that this is a bounteous epoch in Irish jump racing.

They were led around the parade ring by Istabraq himself, bucking with resentment that he could no longer join them in earnest, but he never had to deal with the same depth of opposition as the horse who now wears his crown.

Indeed, the reunion of Brave Inca, Macs Joy and Hardy Eustace - the first three in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month - seemed to borrow the vintage flavour of names such as Night Nurse, Sea Pigeon and Monksfield.

As it turned out, Brave Inca could not match the imperious homecoming of Newmill, War Of Attrition and Asian Maze, who had all added this week to their recent depredations in Britain. Instead it was Macs Joy, beaten by Brave Inca in all five of their previous meetings, who finally avenged his nemesis in the ACC Bank Hurdle.

But even his trainer,Jessica Harrington, recognised that things had been in their favour. The sunshine and breezes of a gorgeous spring day may have suited the Ladies' Day crowd, but they did not find favour with Brave Inca, who was confirmed a runner only after the track had been watered overnight.

Off the bridle almost throughout, he responded to Tony McCoy with his usual generosity but this time his legs could not keep up with his heart. By halfway, Colm Murphy was matching Brave Inca's every stride with a kind of exaggerated nod of his head and shoulders, his neck muscles swelling with stress. Nowonder the trainer has lost all his hair already.

Murphy knew the game was up as he watched Macs Joy all but carting Barry Geraghty into the lead with three to jump. They went four lengths clear, but at least Brave Inca plugged on to finish a length ahead of Hardy Eustace, who had made much of the running but struggled to hold Essex for third.

"He's run a cracker," Murphy said. "I always said that two miles round here might get him beat, and it has. Tony said he was never really travelling, but all credit to Macs Joy." Brave Inca always gives himself a hard race and he will now get an overdue rest, but remains 4-1 favourite for the 2007 Smurfit Champion Hurdle with Paddy Power, with Macs Joy 8-1 from 12-1.

"We got him at last!" Harrington exclaimed. "Barry changed tactics a bit today, and it really paid off. Maybe we should be taking them on a bit earlier.

"Our horse really appreciates this sort of ground and maybe Brave Inca did not. But he deserved this, he is such a tough horse. I don't know if he appreciates Cheltenham as much as Brave Inca or Hardy Eustace, but he loves it here."

Poor Geraghty is disfigured at present by stitching to a grotesque cut in his chin, an injury that coincided with a magical week for Ruby Walsh. That has settled the Irish jockeys' championship, and Walsh added the icing when taking over from another rider in the wars, Paul Carberry, on Nicanor in the Dunboyne Castle Champion Novices' Hurdle - in turn sealing another trainers' title for Noel Meade. Nicanor was exhausted by the line, but so was the runner-up, and confirmed the suspicion raised at Cheltenham that he would have ample speed for two miles. Sure enough Meade hopes to aim him at the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy next year.

Refinement could never land a blow, distilling the fortunes of the British overall this week. A "greenwash" was thwarted in the least expected fashion, however, when Olney Lad made all at 25-1 in the novice handicap chase - much the biggest success ever enjoyed by his trainer, Renee Robeson.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable