sport

Pete pounces at Leopardstown

Guitar Pete gave trainer Dessie Hughes a second successive triumph in the Gala Retail Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Barry Geraghty took up the running after jumping the second-last and soon put the Grade One race to bed.

The 9-2 shot ran on stoutly to comfortably beat Tiger Roll (16-1) by two and a quarter lengths.

Plinth was third, while the 9-10 favourite Ivan Grozny never threatened in fourth.

Geraghty said: "He was very impressive. He really ground it out and jumped like a stag."

Orgilgo Bay set a decent pace in the demanding conditions as Guitar Pete sat second before Geraghty asked him to go on and settle the issue.

Tiger Roll was the only one to put in any challenge, while Plinth was let down a little by his jumping and Ivan Grozny was a disappointment.

The winner was subsequently halved in price to around the 10-1 mark for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Hughes said: "He's very honest and he loves the trip - he just gallops. "He will go for the Triumph now he's proved his worth.

"Our Conor may have had a bit more speed, but this lad jumps well and grinds it out.

"He's done everything right since Christmas. The ground was the only thing, but it didn't seem to bother him.

"I couldn't ask for more. There were some good horses in there and it was a true-run race."

Geraghty believes Guitar Pete is an ideal type for the Triumph.

He said: "Dessie does a good job with his juveniles and all of his hurdlers.

"He schools them well and he (Guitar Pete) pinged them down the back and that's what won it for him.

"You need a real stayer for the Triumph now and he's that."

Trainer Gordon Elliott believes there is more to come from runner-up Tiger Roll.

He said: "I'm very happy with him. If he had jumped the last, he'd have been bang on top of him (Guitar Pete) but probably wouldn't have beat the winner.

"He's a nice horse and there's a fair bit of improvement in him."