BBC News: Punchestown Festival: Jeff Kidder secures surprise win in Ballymore Champion Four Year Old Hurdle

Published 2021/05/02

Triumph Hurdle hero Quilixios had been expected to retain his unbeaten record.

But he was beaten a long way out under Rachael Blackmore. Zanahiyr swooped late to grab second after getting a bit tight for room with the winner at one point, prompting a stewards' inquiry that made no difference to the result.

Poetic Flare wins 2,000 Guineas for Bolger Jeff Kidder was claiming his fourth hurdles victory, having won the juvenile handicap hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival at 80-1 before graduating to Grade Two company at Fairyhouse last month.

'He has never stopped improving' "I said in Fairyhouse, if he ever jumps them all he'll be a really good horse and he did jump today," said Meade.

"He jumped brilliant and he's just never stopped improving. Since he came back from Cheltenham, he's like a film star in the yard. The girls take him off to the beach for a dip and he's become a star in the yard. I think he's liking every minute of it.

"A real fast gallop really suits him, like they went in the Fred Winter and as they did there. They were coming back to him and his jumping was fantastic." Meade will now look to return to the Flat with Jeff Kidder, adding:

"He's going to have a little break, although I suppose he's so well you'd think to yourself you should keep going. "He'll certainly have a run on the Flat, he's never going to be a chaser.

"Now that he's won that, he's going to have to stay with the big fellas now. That's his last chance to run in a four-year-old race, so he'll have to wait until the back end to have a go again.

"It's been a lonely old week up until now. I said Willie [Mullins] has been the easiest man to find in Punchestown as he's been in the winner's enclosure all week.

"To be fair he was the first one to congratulate me. I'm delighted, absolutely thrilled."

Stormy Ireland takes Mullins tally to 18 Stormy Ireland (7-2) galloped her rivals into submission in the Grade One Coolmore Kew Gardens Irish EBF Mares Champion Hurdle - chalking up Mullins' 17th winner of the week.

Danny Mullins was eager to seize the initiative on the seven-year-old, who was one of four contenders for Willie Mullins.

Stormy Ireland bowled along in front and was still full of running with two to jump as 8-11 favourite and stablemate Concertista tried to reel in her handy advantage along with Minella Melody.

However, jockey Mullins had plenty up his sleeve and the mare, who only recently returned to Willie Mullins' care following an unsuccessful spell with Paul Nicholls, cruised home to take a first top-level victory.

Mullins made it 18 when the Brian Hayes-ridden Brahma Bull lifted the Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase, before Koshari grabbed another for the trainer in the Baroneracing.com Handicap Hurdle under Ricky Doyle.