DARASSO ran out a dominant winner of the Grade 3 Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park.
A multiple winner over hurdles and fences in his native France, the JP McManus-owned six-year-old was pitched in at the deep end on his Irish debut last month – finishing fifth behind Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy in the Galmoy Hurdle at this venue.
Dropping from three to two miles for this assignment, Joseph O’Brien’s inmate was a 2/1 joint-favourite – along with the Gordon Elliott-trained Coeur Sublime – and was settled in behind the pace-setting Forge Meadow much of the way.
Darasso had to be nudged along heading out on to the second circuit as last year’s winner Forge Meadow attempted to make all.
However, O’Brien’s runner responded to Barry Geraghty’s urgings – and after mastering Jessica Harrington’s mare in the straight, ultimately went on to win emphatically by 11 lengths.
BACK IN TRIP
O’Brien said: “He ran well enough here the last day in a good race, but I’d say coming back in trip was a help to him – and he likes soft ground.
“Barry gave him a good ride – he kept him in the race without forcing him too much.
“I guess we’ll stick to these kind of graded races, because he’s too high really for handicaps. He could have a shot at a Grade 1 later in the year.”
Forge Meadow boxed on to fill the runner-up spot, with Rashaan making late gains to beat Coeur Sublime to third.
Last season’s Triumph Hurdle hero Farclas was bitterly disappointing.
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