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Nicky Henderson crowned champion jumps trainer at Sandown

Nicky Henderson was crowned champion jumps trainer for a fourth time after an epic battle with his old adversary Paul Nicholls came to a conclusion as the curtain came down on the season at Sandown.

It had been a match between the two heavyweights of the National Hunt scene for some time, but Henderson had enough in hand to end another Nicholls surge.

Arkle hero Altior helped put the seal on the title in winning the bet365 Celebration Chase, beating Special Tiara by eight lengths in the hands of Nico de Boinville as the 30-100 favourite.

Henderson said: "What a great horse to do it with. He's very special.

"It's a tough game and, to be fair, we have been consistent over the last few years and we've been second to Paul four or five times.

"I don't think I'm coming to the end of it, I will keep going as long as everybody wants me to.

"When you enter a competition, you want to win races and if that means you're going to finish at the top of the pile, so be it.

"It is a championship and it's there to be fought for. There are no prizes for finishing second."

Henderson had spoilt a long Nicholls' streak when successful in the 2012-13 campaign, after the Ditcheat handler had been in charge since 2005-6.

Now Henderson has done it again and it still seems incredible he had been in the wilderness as far as the title was concerned after coming out on top two seasons running in 1985-86 and 1986-87.

Next year will be the 40th that Henderson, 66, has held a licence.

However, it has not all been plain-sailing for the master of Seven Barrows.

A real low point came in November, when the same day as he had to call time on the fabulous career of champion two-miler Sprinter Sacre, the brilliant but fragile Simonsig was killed in action at Cheltenham.

Henderson was left reeling but, in typical fashion, he was able to call upon the next generation of superstars.

In Altior, Buveur D'Air and Might Bite, to name just three, he has horses who could dominate the sport for several years if they can stay sound and healthy.

Altior has looked the natural successor to Sprinter Sacre in the two-mile division, while Henderson's brilliance as a trainer is no better illustrated than by Buveur D'Air, who was switched from novice chasing halfway through the campaign back to hurdling and went on to win the Champion Hurdle.

"I just felt he had unfinished business" was Henderson's gut feeling on Buveur D'Air, and how right he was.

Might Bite, who has as much eccentricity as he has talent, has continued to test Henderson's skills, and has the ability to be a serious contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup after being the king of the staying novices.

Henderson said: "We took a bitter pill early on in the season when Sprinter had to retire as you always felt he could win the Tingle Creek, the Champion Chase and all sorts of things and be a flag-bearer. Once he was out, Simonsig got killed which was horrible.

"You think, 'Let's have a good year', but you never dream it would finish up like this.

"We've got some good novice chasers. We always knew Altior was a very good horse, Might Bite is interesting and exciting. We've also got Top Notch and Whisper - all good old soldiers."

Henderson admitted he was relieved the season was finally over.

He said: "I've sorted of enjoyed it but I feel better now.

"We've got some Grade One horses and, to be fair to Paul, he has done incredibly well as he has not got the Grade One horses but he is winning a huge amount of prize-money with some very good placing.

"When you've got Altiors and Buveur D'Airs of this world, you've got a serious chance of winning big prize-money and even My Tent (Or Yours) - look what he wins for you in a year.

"The boys at home have been brilliant. It's been a long winter of serious dedication by everyone on the team and the owners. I have a brilliant bunch of owners that are friends and we try and have a fair bit of fun on the way.

"It's a good old mob and I think there will be a good old party. It's been fun. I am as up for it as I have ever been."

Nicholls was gracious in defeat after he was denied an 11th title.

The Ditcheat handler said: "We have had an amazing number of winners and amazing number of prize-money so it is onwards and upwards.

"It was always going to go down to the wire as we were going to keep churning out winners. We could have done with one or two Grade One winners at Cheltenham and another at Aintree which would have helped.

"If we do what we did this year every year we would be happy.

"It is almost good for the sport that it goes down to the last day. It keeps everyone interested. There was only going to be one result, unless we had a complete miracle.

"It will be harder next season, I think, as Nicky has got an awesome team next year. I've not got a King George or Tingle Creek horse. It will be harder, but we will still be banging in the winners.

"We have got some real smart novice chasers coming through again next season and they are all the future. In a few years' time, it will turn round."

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Celebration time for new champion Nicky Henderson as Altior shines at Sandown

Altior clinched the jumps trainers' championship for Nicky Henderson with a superb victory in the bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown.

The crack novice treated last month's Champion Chase hero Special Tiara with disdain as he brushed aside the Irish raider, who had set the pace until the second-last fence.

Altior (30-100 favourite) sprinted clear for Nico de Boinville to take his 100 per cent record over fences to six with a ruthless eight-length triumph.

Henderson said: "He's top class. I think we've always known that."

De Boinville said: "He really is a star that shines very brightly. It's an incredible achievement for him and a great day all round.

"He was still a novice coming into open company. He picked up so well. It was just effortless."

Henderson added: "He's got a bit of everything - he's got class, he's got the gears. It's all very professional. At the moment the dream's very much alive.

"I think we've always known that he is very special ever since a young horse as a hurdler.

"You know that Special Tiara is going to set serious fractions but this fellow can always have it covered as he has the pace to do it.

"He has finished his first season (over fences) exactly how Sprinter Sacre ended his last year.

"There is still a long way to go but it is great to have him. He is very special."

Outlining plans for next season, Henderson said: "I don't see any point going further in trip when you don't need to. It will be Tingle Creek, Ascot and obviously Cheltenham has to be the objective."

Henry de Bromhead said of runner-up Special Tiara: "He has just been beaten by an exceptional horse.

"Noel (Fehily) said he was delighted and that he felt great and jumped great. He did everything really well, he has just been beaten by an exceptional horse."

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L'Ami Serge caps memorable day for Nicky Henderson

L'Ami Serge gave newly-crowned champion trainer Nicky Henderson a treble on the Sandown card when ending a 15-month losing run with some aplomb in the bet365 Select Hurdle.

The seven-year-old, completing a double for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede and their retained jockey Daryl Jacob, was revitalised by a return to the scene of his Grade One triumph over hurdles in January 2015.

As expected, The New One set out to lead from flag-fall but L'Ami Serge pulled his way to the front with three flights left to jump.

Well in command after jumping the last, L'Ami Serge (7-2) had enough left in the tank to hold last year's winner Ptit Zig by a length and half, with the Henderson-trained Volnay De Thaix six lengths away in third.

Henderson said: "He is a big, strong horse and, to be fair, we always thought he was a two-miler but we may have been getting his trip wrong.

"Over fences he has to go left-handed but you can get away with it over hurdles. We will mix him again next year but he deserved winning a good prize as he has been pretty close a couple of times this season."

Henderson also took the bet365 Celebration Chase with the brilliant Altior, and his three-timer began when Call Me Lord made a successful British debut in the bet365 Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

The French import defied top weight in promising fashion, despite his jumping being far from fluid in the closing stages.

It was sheer class that got Call Me Lord (5-1 favourite) the victory and it came at the chief expense of Henderson's arch adversary in the championship race Paul Nicholls, whose Dolos was three and three-quarter lengths behind the winner.

Henderson said of the Jacob-ridden winner: "He has not been over from France very long. I thought his mark was high enough having seen one of his races in France.

"I just wanted to learn something about him. He does do everything going right a bit and he does that home.

"He handled ground quicker than he has been jumping on and his jumping could be sharpened up a little bit. Obviously he has got a lot of talent but we have not done a huge amount with him at home.

"He is going to come into the 140s after that, which makes next season difficult, but we will map out a plan. Let's go home pretty confident we have got a nice horse for next year."

Menorah signed off his career in spectacular style by winning the bet365 Oaksey Chase for the fourth year in a row.

The 12-year-old, trained by Philip Hobbs, put in an immaculate display of jumping in the hands of champion jockey Richard Johnson as he put the race to bed a long way out.

Sailing over the obstacles, Menorah (9-4) led over the Railway Fences on the second circuit and soon had his rivals toiling.

Though Traffic Fluide closed the gap on the run to the line, he was still four and a half lengths behind the game and gallant veteran.

Hobbs told ITV Racing: "To win that race four times in a row is amazing. That's his last race, he's been retired."

Hobbs added: "Since he won the Supreme, he's been at the top end. This was the one race that ideally suited him. He's been a pleasure to train."

The Minehead handler continued: "He just wants better ground and for a good horse like him there are not the better races on the better ground.

"He has always been very genuine. He has just been so straightforward and has never had an issue. Any kid could ride him as he is an easy horse to deal with. He is a pleasure to see out every morning as he is such a good-looking horse."

A tearful Graham Whateley, who owns the horse with his wife Diana, said: "He's put us on the stage. He was just a fabulous horse. I can't tell you what it's like.

"He deserves this. Four times on the bounce, what a guy. He's gone out at the top. He's been fantastic, we are very, very lucky."

Among Menorah's 15 victories in 43 starts included the 2010 Supreme Novices' Hurdle, the Manifesto Novices' Chase, the Peterborough Chase and the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.

He amassed over £667,000 in prize-money and will spend his retirement at Johnson's farm in Herefordshire.

Johnson ended the season on a high when steering the Hobbs-trained Wait For Me (5-1 joint-favourite) to victory in the bet365 Handicap Hurdle.

Leading between the last two flights, Wait For Me bounded clear to score from Stowaway Magic and Kings Walk.

Hobbs said: "He will either go novice chasing or he might start off in a hurdle race. We had to do plenty of schooling over hurdles to get that right. He has jumped beautifully today, though."

Shantou Village (3-1 favourite) stuck on stoutly to hold Brother Tedd by a neck in the bet365 Josh Gifford Novices' Handicap Chase for trainer Neil Mulholland and jockey Noel Fehily.

Mulholland said: "I was very happy with him. It has been a bit frustrating missing the festivals.

"He is just coming right now, getting two wins at the end of the season. He has won four this year and you have to be very happy with him. We will just put him away and look at something like the Paddy Power (Cheltenham) - that will be of real interest to us."

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Henllan Harri strikes Gold at Sandown for the Bowen family

Henllan Harri caused a 40-1 upset when he just held on from Vyta Du Roc in a thrilling finish to the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.

The nine-year-old, trained by Peter Bowen and ridden by his son Sean, made most of the running and kept all-comers at bay as he captured the last big steeplechase of the season.

Henllan Harri was 4lb wrong at the weights but that did not stop him from landing the spoils for the Pembrokeshire stable.

The pack closed in up the final hill, but Henllan Harri got the verdict by a head from the Nicky Henderson-trained Vyta Du Roc (6-1), with Colin Tizzard's Theatre Guide (20-1) just a neck away third.

The winning rider said: "I thought I had (won) but then Daryl (Jacob, on Vyta Du Roc) said he'd won it.

"He held on well and battled on very hard. He did what he does best. He stuck on well all the way and stayed every yard.

"He's very tough."

Peter Bowen said: "That makes it twice as special with Sean riding. He only had 10st, which helped, but he was 4lb out of the handicap - however he handles that ground.

"We were not sure about the trip but he stayed it well. I thought he would run well and I thought he would be in the first six.

"He ran above himself, I would say. We were a bit worried as he has always jumped a bit left but he jumped really straight.

"He will have a long break now and we will see what he does early on in the season. On that form, if he goes up high enough he could be seen as a National horse."

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Proud Richard Johnson rules again

Richard Johnson described winning his second Stobart Jump Jockeys' Championship as a "dream come true".

For the second year in succession, the 39-year-old was given a guard of honour by his weighing-room colleagues before racing at Sandown after topping the table once again.

Although his final figure was down on last year's total of 235, the Gold Cup-winning jockey still finished over 40 winners in front of runner-up Brian Hughes.

He said: "It is fantastic to be champion jockey again. It is the one thing I was trying to do for 20 years and last year was amazing to finally get there and to follow it up is a dream come true.

"The most important thing for me is the championship. Obviously we all want to win Gold Cups and Grand Nationals. The best thing I think I can do, though, is be champion jockey, so to manage to do it twice is fantastic.

"I think it is fantastic to win by a decent margin. In February I had a couple of knocks and I started to worry that everyone was getting a bit closer, but I am happy to get there now."

While appreciating the attention he has received in claiming another title, after spending so long in the shadow of AP McCoy, Johnson paid thanks to two people who have helped him achieve his primary goal.

He said: "I've been very lucky with Philip Hobbs mainly and having Dave Roberts as an agent for a long time. You can't get better than those two, they are first class.

"To ride for Philip is without doubt what has made my career what it has been the last 15 to 20 years, and Dave Roberts as an agent leaves no stone unturned to find the next winner.

"Those people have made it easier for me more than anything else."

Throughout the season there have been plenty of highlights for Johnson, but one in particular stood out above all else.

He said: "We've been lucky throughout the whole year. I think realistically Native River with his Hennessy and Welsh National win, I thought he was fantastic.

"Obviously for Philip - and it was Barry Geraghty's bad luck - but I was able to ride two Grade One winners on Defi Du Seuil.

"The Cheltenham Festival is where we all want to have winners. To have two winners was fantastic, but to ride one for Philip - it is always special to ride one for your boss.

"I think the Welsh National on Native River would be the top pick. To win that off top weight in testing ground is all class.

"He ran a really good race afterwards in the Gold Cup when the ground had perhaps just dried a little bit more than ideal to make it a proper test of stamina.

"He still ran really well and being a seven-year-old, he is the one horse I can't wait to see again next year. He showed he was only just behind the best and I think he has got as good a profile as anything and with him being seven, there is no reason he can't be as good if not better next season."

Despite turning 40 in July, the father of three sent out a warning to his rivals and those aspiring to take his title off him.

He said: "There are plenty of lads riding over 100 winners this season and there are plenty that are keen. I'm not going to be able to have any freebie for sure.

"It will be very competitive, I am sure. There is Brian Hughes, who finished second this season. There is Sam Twiston-Davies, he was unlucky through injury and he had to miss six weeks.

"Sam riding for Paul Nicholls and his dad has a very strong team, then there is also Aidan Coleman. They would be the main three, but there are an awful lot of lads that will ride a lot of winners, it is just a case of getting a good start and concentrating on what I do best.

"We've already been looking at Monday's and Thursday's entries over the last couple of days and we are focusing now on next season.

"Hopefully we will have a nice busy summer and there will be time for some breaks and holidays in between, but when there is racing we want to be busy and raring to go.

"I'm very lucky to have Philip as a boss and I enjoy doing it, so as long as the body is able to keep going hopefully you have got to put up with me for a few years longer. I think compared to some jockeys I am lucky with my weight as it is reasonably stable."

Johnson signed off with a flourish at Sandown as he secured victories aboard the Hobbs-trained duo of Menorah and Wait For Me. He ended the season on 188 winners.

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Willie Mullins secures improbable triumph in battle for trainers' title

Willie Mullins completed a remarkable comeback at Punchestown to be crowned champion trainer as the curtain came down on a thrilling end to the jumps season in Ireland.

The perennial champion appeared to have a mountain to climb at the start of the week as he trailed rival Gordon Elliott by a shade over €400,000.

But having gradually reduced the deficit, Mullins hit the front with a sparkling treble on Friday and headed into Saturday with a €91,295 lead.

Elliott gave himself hope as Apple's Jade ran out a brilliant winner of the Mares Champion Hurdle, but Mullins saddled the second, third, fourth and fifth, which meant he still went into the AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle with a healthy advantage of €66,495.

Elliott badly needed Mega Fortune to deliver, but instead it was Mullins who effectively sealed the title with 2-1 favourite Bapaume, ridden by Ruby Walsh.

That victory took Mullins' lead to €130,495 and while it was still mathematically possible for Elliott to claim the championship, his faint hopes were dashed when Space Cadet failed to make an impact in the three-mile handicap chase.

Mullins put a seal on his championship victory as Open Eagle claimed the lucrative two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle with 20-1 shot Open Eagle to eventually see off Elliott by €199,495.

"I didn't think it was possible for us to win, particularly when a few of the early photo-finishes went against us this week," said the Closutton handler.

"It's fantastic to win and a big thank you to all the team at home and all my owners. It's been a funny season. It hasn't been that enjoyable and I'm glad it's over.

"Gordon is a great competitor. He's fantastic and has been a gentleman the whole way through."

After led for much of the season, Elliott admitted defeat was tough to take, even if Apple's Jade's victory meant he matched the record previously set by Mullins for the number of winners trained in a season.

He said: "It's a bit heartbreaking. We've led from day one of the season, but to be in the same sentence as Willie Mullins is brilliant. Hopefully we'll do it one year. I'm still only 39 and hopefully I'll be around for another few years.

"We've equalled Willie's record of 193 winners in a season. I said coming here that if I could equal that, it would be something. Of course I wanted to win (the trainer's championship), but at least that is something good. I'll keep my head up and enjoy it."

Gigginstown House Stud were crowned champion owners.

Michael O'Leary's operation withdrew around 60 horses from the Mullins yard in the autumn after a dispute over training fees, with Elliott the chief beneficiary.

The Ryanair Supremo paid tribute to both trainers after a compelling duel.

"I think it's been a great battle between two master trainers," he told At The Races.

"Willie's performed heroics this year. He lost my horses back in September and he's still champion trainer. It just goes to show the depth of the talent that he has down there and Gordon has come on in leaps and bounds.

"Gordon has won a lot of the handicap races, Willie's won most of the Graded races and that's the difference.

"I think the competition between Willie and Gordon is good, it's certainly lit up the backend of the jumps season.

"I've no doubt at some point in time Gordon will become champion trainer, but Willie is going to be a mighty mountain to move over.

"Competition is good for the industry."

Asked about the prospect of having horses with Mullins again, O'Leary added: " If we could reach an agreement on training fees I'd be back there tomorrow, but that's in the past.

"I would hope we'll have horses with Willie at some stage in the future, I don't see any reason why not. It was really only over fees, there was no other issues."

Ruby Walsh is the champion National Hunt jockey, while Rachael Blackmore is champion conditional.

After riding four winners in two days, Patrick Mullins closed the gap on Jamie Codd to just one in the race to be crowned champion amateur.

But with both riders out of luck in the bumper, Codd was confirmed as the winner.

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Willie Mullins on top as Bapaume takes Grade One honours at Punchestown

Bapaume claimed victory for Willie Mullins in the AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown.

Gordon Elliott badly needed Mega Fortune to deliver in the Grade One, but he was eventually run out of the places as 2-1 favourite Bapaume scooped top honours in the hands of Ruby Walsh.

Mega Fortune, runner-up in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, was ridden forcefully by Davy Russell, but Bapaume cruised alongside rounding the home turn and kicked clear in the straight.

Landofhopeandglory emerged as his biggest threat after the final flight and got to within a length and a quarter of the winner at the line.

Mega Fortune was beaten to third place by Bapaume's stablemate Meri Devie.

Walsh said: "He's a tough little horse. He probably got outstayed by Mega Fortune at Leopardstown.

"He jumped the last really well and stuck his head out.

"He's only a handy little horse but he's delivered on a very, very important day."

Mullins said: "I think we got the tactics right in that race. Mega Fortune was the one to try and beat and it worked out.

"Bapaume has kept his form all season and is a fantastic horse. I'd imagine that he will stay hurdling next season but whether he can step up again we'll see.

"It's tough for four-year-olds the following year."

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Apple's Jade storms to glory in Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown

Apple's Jade ran out a wide-margin winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.

Winner of the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse and the Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned five-year-old was the even-money favourite to provide trainer Gordon Elliott with a much-needed victory in his battle for the trainers' title with Willie Mullins.

Airlie Beach, one of four Mullins representatives in a seven-strong field, adopted her customary pacesetting role under Danny Mullins, with Apple's Jade always her closest pursuer in the hands of Bryan Cooper.

That pair were joined by Karalee on the run to the second-last and were the only three horses in contention rounding the home turn.

Apple's Jade quickly stamped her authority on the Grade One contest, and swept to the front after the final flight to seal an impressive 14-length success.

Airlie Beach boxed on admirably for second ahead of stablemate Karalee in third.

Mullins also had the respective fourth and fifth home, Whiteout and Augusta Kate.

Cooper said: "She did it very well. I was a little worried turning out of the back as she hit a flat spot. She's probably getting a bit better and racing a bit lazier.

"She stuck her head out and it's only when she got upsides she started racing."

Gigginstown supremo Michael O'Leary said: "She looked great. Gordon thought she was in very good form.

"She seems to be going the right way. We'll enjoy this and Gordon will make some plan for her for next season, but she seems to be a very good mare who is only five, so hopefully there's a bright future ahead of her.

"If she was fit and well, that Mares' Hurdle in Cheltenham again looks tailor-made for her."

Elliott said: "She's a very good mare and that was a great performance.

"I doubt if she will jump fences next year and the Mares' Hurdle or the Stayers' (at Cheltenham) are possible targets for her."

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Sizing fits the bill for Tizzard and Power at Punchestown

Robbie Power and his retaining owners Ann and Alan Potts bagged yet another winner at this year's Punchestown Festival as Sizing Codelco claimed victory in the Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase.

Also a third winner of the week for trainer Colin Tizzard, the 4-1 shot jumped neatly on his way to a comfortable three-and-a-half-length success over Forever Gold.

Tizzard said: He didn't travel as well as he did at Aintree. The ground was a bit deeper here and he's more of a good-ground horse. We are only learning how good he is. I suppose we'll look at the Hennessy as he's that type of horse, and in the spring he could be a National horse."

Patrick Mullins rode his fourth winner within the space of two days as Open Eagle landed top honours in the lucrative Ballymore Handicap Hurdle.

A huge field went to post for the €100,000 contest and the Willie Mullins-trained trio of Thomas Hobson, Livelovelaugh and 20-1 shot Open Eagle led the field into the straight.

Dream Berry finished strongly, but Open Eagle held him at bay by half a length. Livelovelaugh was third and After Rain was fourth.

Willie Mullins said: "He was a good novice and we intended going chasing with him this year but he got a small setback.

"He might run back on the Flat later in the summer. He likes a bit of a dig in the ground.

"It was another fine ride by Patrick. He's riding well this week!"

Whatareudoingtome led home a one-two for leading owner JP McManus in the Three.ie Handicap Chase.

Philip Dempsey's seven-year-old was a 16-1 shot for the three-mile-six-furlong contest and crept into contention in the hands of Niall Madden.

Fellow McManus-owned runner White Arm, the 11-2 favourite, committed for home first, hitting the front between the final two fences.

But Whatareudoingtome was on terms at the last and saw out the marathon trip best to prevail by five lengths.

Dempsey said: "He was a bit unlucky at Fairyhouse the last day. Niall gave him a lovely ride and rode him with a bit of confidence. He could race on over the summer but is a big horse and I wouldn't like to run him on really quick ground."

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Sizing fits the bill for Tizzard and Power at Punchestown

Robbie Power and his retaining owners Ann and Alan Potts bagged yet another winner at this year's Punchestown Festival as Sizing Codelco claimed victory in the Palmerstown House Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase.

Also a third winner of the week for trainer Colin Tizzard, the 4-1 shot jumped neatly on his way to a comfortable three-and-a-half-length success over Forever Gold.

Tizzard said: He didn't travel as well as he did at Aintree. The ground was a bit deeper here and he's more of a good-ground horse. We are only learning how good he is. I suppose we'll look at the Hennessy as he's that type of horse, and in the spring he could be a National horse."

Patrick Mullins rode his fourth winner within the space of two days as Open Eagle landed top honours in the lucrative Ballymore Handicap Hurdle.

A huge field went to post for the €100,000 contest and the Willie Mullins-trained trio of Thomas Hobson, Livelovelaugh and 20-1 shot Open Eagle led the field into the straight.

Dream Berry finished strongly, but Open Eagle held him at bay by half a length. Livelovelaugh was third and After Rain was fourth.

Willie Mullins said: "He was a good novice and we intended going chasing with him this year but he got a small setback.

"He might run back on the Flat later in the summer. He likes a bit of a dig in the ground.

"It was another fine ride by Patrick. He's riding well this week!"

Whatareudoingtome led home a one-two for leading owner JP McManus in the Three.ie Handicap Chase.

Philip Dempsey's seven-year-old was a 16-1 shot for the three-mile-six-furlong contest and crept into contention in the hands of Niall Madden.

Fellow McManus-owned runner White Arm, the 11-2 favourite, committed for home first, hitting the front between the final two fences.

But Whatareudoingtome was on terms at the last and saw out the marathon trip best to prevail by five lengths.

Dempsey said: "He was a bit unlucky at Fairyhouse the last day. Niall gave him a lovely ride and rode him with a bit of confidence. He could race on over the summer but is a big horse and I wouldn't like to run him on really quick ground."