Empire of Dirt impresses in Coral Chase victory
Young rider Jonathan Moore had his 7lb claim reduced to 5lb when landing a big-race success on Empire Of Dirt in the Coral.ie Leopardstown Handicap Chase at the Dublin venue.
One of three Gigginstown House Stud horses in an 11-runner line-up, Empire Of Dirt (8-1) came through to lead after the second-last after old warrior Seabass had made the running.
The nine-year-old, trained by Colm Murphy, kept away Killer Crow, also in the Gigginstown colours, to get home by two and a quarter lengths.
Seabass stuck on gamely to hold third place, just two lengths further back.
Moore said: "He jumped from fence to fence.
"Once I got my gap, I sent him on.
"He was game and he jumped unbelievable.
"It's a great training performance from Colm Murphy."
Murphy said: "I would have been disappointed if he hadn't run well.
"When you are not popping in the winners, though, you don't have the same confidence as before.
"We're lucky we have a few nice horses, but that's the problem - we only have a few.
"He's been disappointing but has probably been unlucky.
"He was unlucky in the Troytown when he tipped up two out and the last day in the Paddy Power was a non-event when he missed the start.
"He doesn't go the other way and it didn't happen for him in Punchestown.
"We had big plans for him last year but he fell at the first in the Irish National. I'm not sure if he'll go that route again and we might look at Cheltenham and Aintree.
"Johnny (Moore) was with me for a couple of years but when we got quiet there were no opportunities for him. He gave him a fantastic ride and he would have known him well.
"We don't have the fire-power like we used to and that's great for everyone in the yard.
"I've no doubt if we get the horses we'll have big days but, unfortunately, bar the big guns, it's not easy.
"It's great to do it on a big show like this."