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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 17 April 2021
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'Exceptional' Last Instalment claims Hennessy Gold Cup win

Jockey Brian O’Connell had to make a quick decision to send the eventual winner to the front after a dawdling start.

Last Instalment ridden by Brian O'Connell on the way to victory.
Last Instalment ridden by Brian O'Connell on the way to victory.

Horse racing news brought to you in association with GallopsLive.com

IT WAS A scene that could have come straight out of a fairytale story, as Last Instalment, having just his second start after nearly two years out of action through injury, smashed his way through a high quality field to take home the Hennessy Gold Cup for Philip Fenton, Brian O’Connell and owners Gigginstown Stud.

Connections were worried about the level of fitness for their nine-year-old, a winner of two Grade 1′s at this track in his youth, but those fears were ultimately unfounded as the son of Anshan put in a bold round of jumping from the front to score by a very impressive eight 1/2 lengths.

First Lieutenant was sent off a warm favourite for the prestigious Grade 1, but his challenge surprisingly faded away before the turn for home, as jockey Bryan Cooper was forced to push and persuade the chestnut, who would eventually stay on well for 3rd, with the old timer Tidal Bay denying him the runner up spot with a very late challenge.

Jockey Brian O’Connell had to make a quick decision to send the eventual winner to the front after a dawdling start and it was a decision that worked out very well as his charge enjoyed himself out in front throwing in some exuberant leaps at times.  O’Connell has a wonderful record with the winner with four wins from four starts after this success and he was full of praise for his mount, who was cut to 10/1 from 33/1 for next month’s Gold Cup at Cheltenham afterwards.

“He was exceptional today,” the winning jockey said.  “It wasn’t the plan to make the running but we went very slowly early on and my lad was fresh and jumped his way to the front over the first two.

“We were a little worried that he might need the run as it is only his second run back but he was brilliant on the day.  I am delighted to ride a winner for Philip Fenton and Giggistown but especially for Philip who has supported me from the very beginning.

“He has earned his place to line up in a Gold Cup now and the extra two furlongs wont make any difference to him and a true run race will suit him even better.”

A delighted, if a little surprised Fenton, added: “I have to say that he took me by surprise.  It was a terrific performance I have to say, he really excelled himself with his jumping and put it to bed well before the last.

“Two seasons ago with the injury, it was a long road back.  We knew we had a very good horse but you could never believe he would win a Hennessy on just his second run back.

“He looked a very good horse from the start but he has really matured with age and things have finally come right for him.”

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