Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Horse Racing: Shock Win for Eustace

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Horse Racing: Shock Win for Eustace

Article excerpt

HARDY Eustace belied his advancing years to claim the scalps of Ireland's elite twomilers over timber with a thumping display in the AIG Europe Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown yesterday.

Dessie Hughes' veteran, who looks back to his imperious best this season after a campaign dogged by sickness last year, made all under Conor O'Dwyer to deny reigning champion Brave Inca by three lengths.

A dual winner of the hurdling blue riband at Cheltenham, the 10-year-old laid bare his claims of adding to his victories of 2004 and 2005 at the Festival and is now down to 9-2 with Coral and totesport to complete the hat-trick.

Ladbrokes are slightly bigger at 5-1, alongside William Hill and Stan James, while Cashmans offer a standout 6-1. Hardy Eustace arrived at the Dublin track after his defeat to current Champion Hurdle favourite Detroit City at Cheltenham in December.

That run allowed the old warrior to be sent off at an astonishing 9-1.

However, despite being harried along by 11-8 favourite Brave Inca for much of the race, he never saw another rival throughout - Colm Murphy's charge came upsides the winner over the second last, but Hardy Eustace kept on finding more - and even got a secondwind on the run-in to pull right away.

Macs Joy stayed on from off the pace to finish another three lengths adrift in third, with Triumph Hurdle hope Lounaos a creditable fourth.

Hughes said: "I thought he might have needed it as he has had a good break after Cheltenham and he looked big in the ring.

"He has gone and done it very well and I knew from the start of this year that he was back to his best. He was sick all of last year and was well beaten in this race 12 months ago."

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