sport

Rathlin springs 16/1 surprise

Rathlin showed staying power as he outbattled favourite Unika La Reconce to register a 16/1 surprise at Clonmel.

All eyes were on Willie Mullins' charge after had she made a successful Irish bow at Thurles in December and punters sent her off the 8-11 favourite for the Munster Hurdle.

Ruby Walsh looked to be in control at the penultimate flight, moving through smoothly as Rye Martini clattered the obstacle and lost all chance.

That left former classy chaser Rathlin as her only real challenger coming down to the last but the favourite herself made a minor mistake at the final obstacle which cost her valuable momentum.

The Mouse Morris-trained Rathlin responded to jockey Bryan Cooper's urgings and gradually wore down Unika La Reconce, finishing three-quarters of a length to the good.

Morris said: "That was good. He lost his way and that's why we decided to go back over hurdles with him.

"It looks like he's more of a spring-and-summer horse now.

"He'll go back over fences but he's not an easy horse to place, being rated in the 140s.

"At least the horses are in good form at the right time of the year."

Possible Cheltenham runner Anonis did little to recommend his Festival claims, appearing a little unsure in his hurdling before being passed and eventually pulled up.