Savills Chase (Grade 1)

CONFLATED illustrated that on his day he is not far off the best staying chasers with a hugely impressive success under Jack Kennedy in the €175,000 feature, bringing up a treble for the rider and Gordon Elliott.

Gigginstown House Stud’s son of Yeats, a revelation at the Dublin Racing Festival last February when taking the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup, bounced right back to that form to continue the marvellous season of Kennedy. The same connections combined with Outlander in 2016 and Delta Work three years later, with the Dingle rider moving to 73 winners in Ireland this season, 22 clear of Paul Townend after day three.

Michael O’Leary, reportedly racing for the first time in 2022, was able to watch the race out by the rails with Elliott, who had a superb run of it over the Christmas Festivals.

Kennedy settled 2/1 favourite Conflated in second as Kemboy, running in the race for the fifth time, set a modest pace under Paul Townend. Kennedy was happy to take it up after the ninth, and a particularly good jump at the third-last saw him extend his advantage.

French Dynamite looked the main danger for much of the race, travelling and jumping powerfully under Darragh O’Keeffe but, when Kennedy kicked on from the second-last, Mouse Morris’ charge began to fade, Morris later commending the horse and blaming a lack of stamina.

Galvin then came under pressure, as did stablemate and eventual third Fury Road, so Kemboy was the one to chase Conflated up the hill he knows so well. However, Kennedy never had to get too serious on the eight-year-old, and was even able to celebrate his success before the winning line, with Kemboy five lengths back in second.


With no A Plus Tard in the race, it made things much more open, but it would have taken quite a performance to beat Conflated.

Elliott said: “It was unfortunate that A Plus Tard couldn’t run. The race worked out well and Jack gave him a beautiful ride. Paul steadied the pace down and Jack let him stride on. He said the faster this horse goes the better he’ll be. I thought Jack was wonderful.

“He’s not an easy horse and he’s actually starting to settle now. He was very quirky and Jack said he wasn’t doing a stroke the whole way up the straight. He jumped perfect all the way.

“We don’t gallop him a whole lot and he just does his routine work each day. We left him very short in Down Royal and Jack was thrilled and said he’d come on an awful lot from it.

“The horse gave Jack everything. It’s even better that Michael and Anita were here today; I think it’s the first time they were racing this year!

“We knew there was loads of improvement from Down Royal. He will go back to the Irish Gold Cup to try to win it again at the Dublin Racing Festival.”

Kennedy commented: “He had been in good form, had a lovely run up the north and I wasn’t afraid of taking on A Plus Tard. I would have preferred a stronger gallop and something to aim at but he stuck at it well and jumped great.”

There was drama long before this race began with hot favourite A Plus Tard taken out due to veterinary advice shortly before racing commenced at noon. On the back of his Haydock flop on his return, the Gold Cup winner is under an increasing cloud, but trainer Henry de Bromhead was staying positive.

He said: “Of course it’s disappointing but the most important thing is we have him right. We weren’t happy with him as his joint was puffed.

“He’s moving perfectly sound on it and the vets are just going to dig deeper. It wasn’t meant to be today. It’s frustrating but that’s the joy of training horses.”

O’Leary paid tribute to rider, horse and trainer afterwards and said that all roads lead to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, with a repeat bid for victory in the Irish Gold Cup in February likely in between.

The owner said: “He’s always been a very good horse. The Ryanair was probably the wrong race for him at Cheltenham last year. It’s been a great training performance by Gordon.”

Conflated was cut into 14/1 (from 33/1) for the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Paddy Power. A Plus Tard is available at 9/1 for the Gold Cup, with Galopin Des Champs chalked at no better than 7/4.