Racing: War Of Attrition sends warning to King

Little wonder the British are keeping their best horses at home. Even the non-runners here would be too good for them. The six who lined up for the big race yesterday were led round the parade ring by Kicking King and Numbersixvalverde, respectively winners of the 2005 Cheltenham Gold Cup and the 2006 Grand National. They are resting on their laurels for now, but the point was pretty plain even before War Of Attrition went on to the track and gilded a vintage era in Irish jump racing.

With Kicking King recuperating from injury, War Of Attrition seized his crown at Cheltenham last month and his performance in the Guinness Gold Cup confirmed that there will be no restoration without civil war.

He won eased down by Conor O'Dwyer, having made all, so matching Newmill's lap of honour the previous day. The aggressive running style of Brave Inca, who runs tomorrow, makes it quite possible that all three Irish champions anointed at Cheltenham will leave Punchestown without seeing another horse gallop.

War Of Attrition set only a steady pace and Michael Hourigan's pair, Beef Or Salmon and Hi Cloy, closed mutinously approaching three out but the favourite heard them coming. "He pricked his ears and came up on his own," O'Dwyer said. "He wasn't going to wait for me. That's the kind of confidence he has in everything he does. We were over before I knew about it."

His only blemish was a persistent tendency to jump left, but O'Dwyer was adamant that he would have been more attentive with a bit of company. He certainly jumped the last with undiminished energy before comfortably resisting the laboured pursuit of Beef Or Salmon by two and a half lengths.

Even a trainer as weathered as Mouse Morris could not repress his admiration. "If you set out to make a horse, that's what you would come up with," he said. "He has everything. He's a natural at his fences, he has the foot to win over two miles, but he stays so well too. As Conor said, he has no holes in him. He's getting to know more about racing, learning every day. Mentally he's more in touch, and physically he can only improve with another year on him."

Though a relative novice in this game, his owner has the sense to be satisfied with the present. "Everyone knows how hard it is for a Gold Cup winner to come back and do it all again," Michael O'Leary said. "Certainly I know that I'll never have another one like this in my lifetime. I should really stop buying horses now, because the rest will be all downhill. If you're this jammy, this quickly, you have a lot of disappointment ahead of you."

O'Leary had watched the race alongside Hourigan. The two men spent the first circuit wisecracking but fell silent as O'Dwyer turned the screw. Once over the last, Hourigan turned to the Ryanair boss and offered generous congratulations. The last few weeks have introduced him to the limitations in Beef Or Salmon, but he will play to his strengths next season, when he hopes that Hi Cloy, a length and a half back in third, will continue to progress.

"They have both run well after a hard season," Hourigan said. "Beef Or Salmon has probably lost some of his speed, on this dry ground at least. He's still one of the top horses in Ireland, but there's a new kid now and fair play to him."

Forget The Past was tailed off after blundering as the pace quickened. He was Barry Geraghty's only mount on his return from injury, and Ruby Walsh rubbed in the salt with a treble on the card, in the process more or less wrapping up the Irish championship. But the star turn among the riders was Nina Carberry, who confirmed herself first among equals with a first Grade One success in the Paddy Power Champion Bumper.

She gave Leading Run a tremendous ride to see off the Cheltenham winner, Hairy Molly, and then hold the late charge of Lord Over. Now unbeaten in four starts, Leading Run is ranked as highly as any horse in his care by Noel Meade, who hopes that he can match the recent achievements of Nicanor and Iktitaf when he goes over hurdles next season.

* Peter Bowen ended a spell in the doldrums when Burren Moonshine (9-2) won the last race at Perth yesterday. It was the first winner for the Welsh trainer since 18 February.

Richard Edmondson

Nap: Namroc

(Yarmouth 6.25)

NB: Sir Gerard

(Beverley 3.20)

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
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

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower