Powersbomb on top at Punchestown
Powersbomb returned to winning form in the feature Ladbrokes Handicap Chase at Punchestown.
Phillip Enright challenged from off the pace on Brian McMahon’s 11-year-old, who was winning for the first time in 14 starts since November 2019.
The 14-1 shot was still two lengths down at the last, having been slightly hampered when Optical Confusion fell heavily at the previous fence.
But Enright conjured a telling surge from Powersbomb on the run-in, and they prevailed by three-quarters of a length from the always-prominent Us And Them.
County Galway trainer McMahon said: “John Staunton rides him out every day and had him spot on.
“He said to me yesterday he’ll run a big race, even though it looked very competitive for the end of May.
“He travelled super and jumped super. Phillip is able to switch him off and save a bit – which he needs, because he’s not the strongest finisher of all time. He came with one run, which was fabulous.
“He might have a little break now and come back for Galway.”
Enright added: “He’s a consistent old horse that doesn’t get his head in front too often – but thankfully everything worked out nicely today.
“He settled well and jumped brilliant and was game from the back of the last and battled to the line.
“It’s great for Brian and the lads, who do a great job with him and are very loyal to me.
“He’s not overly raced and runs great every day. The lads keep him sweet and happy and do a wonderful job with the horses.”
Promising mare Politesse had earlier provided a reminder of her potential with a dominant success at her first attempt over fences in the Ladbrokes Committed To Safer Gambling Beginners Chase.
Lorna Fowler’s former bumper and hurdles winner has been lightly-raced but was third at 66-1 on her debut at the 2019 Punchestown Festival, and also a Grade Two runner-up at Leopardstown last year.
Conor Orr took 9-4 favourite Politesse into a clear early lead, which she was never in any danger of relinquishing – eventually winning by 11 lengths from Premium Package.
Fowler said: “I’m delighted with her, and she’s a chaser all over.
“Things didn’t go right at the start of last season – stupid things had us off the track for a bit, but she finished fourth in a Grade One after nearly six months off the track (back at the Punchestown Festival this year).
“We’ve schooled her lots over fences, and she’s undoubtedly been a natural from the outset. We’re very lucky to have this (soft) ground at this time of year.
“The idea was to give her light, and if there wasn’t enough pace then let her on. She was very much in command of the situation.”
Full Noise rewarded his supporters in division one of the Ladbrokes Home Of The Odds Boost Handicap Hurdle.
Available at 12-1 on Saturday night, the David Dunne-trained winner was returned the 8-11 favourite.
Dunne said: “He’s a big baby and was probably lucky to win.
Once the money starts coming then the public latch on
“He made a lot of mistakes in Wexford and was only beaten 17 lengths. He may have won but for that. That’s why we put him back over hurdles.
“This looked a weak enough race and we thought if he jumped adequately he had a chance.
“Once the money starts coming then the public latch on.”
Chaos reigned at the first flight in the Ladbrokes Where The Nation Plays Mares Maiden Hurdle – as favourite Mind Your Money fell in a melee which eliminated five of the 20 runners.
Paddy Kennedy, brought down on 100-1 shot Lady De Vesci, suffered a suspected broken jaw – while Rachael Blackmore, on Mind Your Money, missed her remaining rides because of a dead leg.
Donagh Meyler and Raven Rule kept well out of trouble, despite making a mistake of their own at the first, and were soon clear on the way to a 12-length success at 4-1 for Liam Burke.c
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