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Windsor Park takes thrilling Neptune

Windsor Park took a thrilling Neptune Novices Hurdle, carrying home the same colours as last year’s Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere for owner Dr. Ronan Lambe. Having ran well without winning on testing ground in his last two starts, the Galileo gelding looked a different horse on today’s sounder surface and after an exciting finish to the 2m5f contest, was going away in the end under Davy Russell.


Sent off a general 9/2 shot, the Dermot Weld trained 6yo also profited from a change of tactics, as Russell was keen to keep his mount prominent from the off and he settled into a nice rhythm behind the front two of Beast of Burden and Warrantor. Russell found a gap on the inside and kicked for home on the turn in but still had a bunch of rivals to see off, including Vyta Du Roc, Nichols Canyon and a staying on Parlour Games.


Vyta Du Roc blundered badly at the last and this gave Windsor Park the opportunity to kick clear to record a 3 3/4 length victory. Parlour Games stayed on for second, with 7/2 favourite, Nichols Canyon back in third.


“All credit to Dermot Weld and team, what a performance”, Russell said afterwards. “He is a master. He told me that the jumping game is his hobby – it is some hobby!


“He is a class horse and he was spot on for the day. That is all we ever ask for.”


Weld said of the winner: “He is a very versatile horse. He ran five times last year and won five times. He does everything right and is a joy to train. I thought he would be hard to beat.


“He is a good ground horse, the drying ground suited him well. He had ran very well on his last two starts on testing ground and this was just lovely ground for him today.”


Kevin Walsh / Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

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