Sport

Henry Higgins wins Coral Hurdle at Leopardstown

Henry Higgins, with Robbie Power up, left, jumps the last on their way to winning the Coral.ie Leopardstown Handicap Hurdle, from second placed Kalkir
Henry Higgins, with Robbie Power up, left, jumps the last on their way to winning the Coral.ie Leopardstown Handicap Hurdle, from second placed Kalkir

Henry Higgins, one of eight runners for JP McManus, scooped the pool in the highly-competitive Coral.ie Hurdle at Leopardstown.

The six-year-old, trained by Charles O'Brien, challenged Kalkir at the final flight after Bentelimar had led into the straight.

Henry Higgins (16-1) was produced to jump in the lead at the final flight and strode away on the run-in to score by two and a quarter lengths from Kalkir (12-1).

Desoto County (11-2) stayed on well from the rear to claim third place, another two lengths away, with the McManus-owned Tigris River (25-1) fourth.

Power said: "He travelled super the whole way.

"We didn't go a mad gallop but he's got loads of gears.

"He's got loads of pace - he barely gets two miles."

O'Brien would dearly love to have a crack at the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival as it is named in memory of his late father, Vincent O'Brien.

He said: "He always travelled well and we said we'd take a chance and drop him in as two miles is as far as he wants to go on that ground. He got a lovely ride from Robbie (Power).

"He's always had the size and scope and loves jumping hurdles.

"We always hoped there was a big day in him, it was just a question of everything falling right.

"This was the first time this year I felt I had him A1. I was a bit disappointed when I saw the ground as I thought it might have dried up further.

"They said it was horrible gluey, sticky ground and that dented my confidence a bit.

"He handles any ground but but he definitely like better ground and it helps with staying the trip.

"He got a lovely ride. He got a bit of luck, all the splits, and got a dream run up the rail on the bend which you don't normally get in a competitive race here.

"I suppose the County Hurdle is the way to go and an appropriate race to go for. It would be a bit special if he could win that.

"The bottom horse in it last year had a rating of 135, so he needed to do something here to get into it."