SCOIR Mear delivered the big-race victory he has long promised in the Grade B Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Handicap Chase Final at Navan.
The JP McManus-owned grey was a high-class performer over hurdles a couple of years ago for trainer Tom Mullins – most notably finishing fifth behind Supasundae in the Coral Cup at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.
The story of his chasing career thus far has been one of frustration, but he came good in Monday’s €65,000 contest under Jody McGarvey.
After several fallers, the race came down to a battle between 25/1 shot Scoir Mear and 11/2 joint-favourite Young Paddymc, and it was the former who kicked clear to score by three and a half lengths.
Scoir Mear (25-1) picks a good day to win for the first time over fences as the nine-year-old comes good in the feature €65,000 @IrishEBF_ Novice Handicap Chase Final at @NavanRacecourse— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 18, 2019
Results ? https://t.co/glajGV55GR pic.twitter.com/z3cKelsIdF
Mullins said: “He’s been frustrating, and needs a few tweaks and massages between runs.
“We fancied him at Naas two runs back, but he jumped desperate, and the last time in the Leinster National a few horses crossed him at the first – and he was never travelling after that.
“He was a different horse today – he travelled sweetly all the way, and I’m delighted that he’s back to form.
“A penalty for that win should put him into the Irish National, and that’s probably where he’ll go now.”
The Gordon Elliott-rained Final List recorded his first victory over jumps in the Toalsbet App Maiden Hurdle.
The Tramore bumper winner had been placed on each of his four hurdling starts – most recently filling the runner-up spot at Thurles – and opened his account as a 15/8 chance in the hands of Davy Russell.
Elliott said: “I’d say it’s the first day that he’s got the right track. He looked a different horse there today – on a big, galloping track. We’ll find a novice for him.”
The Cullentra handler looked set to complete a quick-fire double when Serious Ego cruised to the front in the Toalsbet Casino Handicap Hurdle – but the race change complexion dramatically from the final flight.
Serious Ego blew his chance by making a mess of the obstacle – and just when it looked as though Sil Ver Klass would then deliver for favourite backers, Gold Cup-winning rider Paul Townend conjured a late rattle out of Ejayteekay – a 10/1 success for Champion Hurdle-winning trainer Gavin Cromwell.
How about this for a race of reversing fortunes at @NavanRacecourse?— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 18, 2019
£1,111 matched at 1.02 on eventual runner-up Sil Ver Klass as @gavincromwell1 continues his fine spell with Ejayteekay, ridden by Gold Cup winner @PTownend
Results ? https://t.co/glajGV55GR pic.twitter.com/b8qcIK7AnC
He said: “She’s always got through soft ground, but just wouldn’t stay because she was too hard on herself. As long as the handicapper is not too hard on her, she might win another one.
“We ran her once over fences, and she ran well, so she will probably go chasing next season.”
The father-son combination of Philip and Luke Dempsey landed the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Hurdle with Caravation.
The six-year-old saw off fellow 2/1 joint-favourite Milan Native by half a length.
Philip Dempsey said: “She’s tough, and did it the hard way from the front. I’d say she will run again, with the ground the way it is. We’ll find something – maybe a winners-of-two or something like that.”
Sean Flanagan steered Adrian Murray’s Bilbo Bagins (7/1) to victory in the Toals.com Handicap Chase.
READ THE FULL NAVAN REPORT IN NEXT WEEKEND'S EDITION OF THE IRISH FIELD