Kilcruit made amends for his Cheltenham Festival defeat by winning the Grade 1 ITM Champion Bumper at Punchestown on Wednesday.
Kilcruit turns the tables! ??@DerekOConnor82 gets the promising @WillieMullinsNH star home in front to take the @IREthoroughbred - Supporting Irish Store Sales Champion INH Flat Race, with Sir Gerhard back in third ??#PTown21 pic.twitter.com/xz6A0Nk5fl— Punchestown (@punchestownrace) April 28, 2021
Derek O'Connor was on board the Willie Mullins-trained winners, as Patrick Mullins opted instead to ride stable companion Sir Gerhard, who had been successful at Cheltenham but had to settle for third spot here.
Dividing the pair was the Stuart Crawford-trained O'Toole, who ran a very promising race at big odds to get within four lengths of the winner and finish three quarters of a length in front of Sir Gerhard.
Lake Winnipesaukee set a strong pace but weakened over half a mile out. Kilcruit (11/8) and Sir Gerhard (5/6) soon had it between them, and it was the older horse who found most in the closing stages.
O'Connor, who was winning the race for the first time, said: "Patrick (Mullins) told me I was on a better stayer (than Sir Gerhard) and it turned into a staying race. The ground is deceptively well watered and rides quite tiring."
The winner was bred by the trainer's mother, Maureen, and is owned by Michael Masterson, who also owns top novice hurdler Appreciate It.