Rebel Fitz (left) powers to Gold Cup glory from Bright New DawnPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Fitz scoops spoils after Ballycasey crashes out
Report: Fairyhouse, Sunday
Powers Gold Cup (Grade 1) 2m4f, 5yo+
REBEL FITZ won for the eighth time in nine starts and recorded a first victory at Grade 1 level after a heavy fall at the second last for favourite Ballycasey threw the race wide open.
With Willie Mullins' other runner Mozoltov unseating Davy Russell early in the back straight it was left to the stable's first string to represent the champion trainer and the long-time leader turned into the home straight cruising under Paul Townend with his two rivals toiling.
But at the second last disaster struck as, having got in too close, Ballycasey took a crashing fall to leave just two of the four runners to complete the race.
Rebel Fitz then had an easy task as Bright New Dawn, who had tried to take Ballycasey on, faded out of contention.
Trainer Michael Winters, jockey Barry Geraghty and owner Brian Sweetnam will have been delighted as their nine-year-old jumped the 16 fences, galloped the two and a half miles and crossed the line without another horse in front of him.
And despite Ballycasey looking the most likely winner when coming down, Geraghty was always confident he had the 11-8 shot covered.
"Rebel Fitz wasn't really travelling as well as he can on the ground which wasn't as good as he likes it," he said. "I was nursing him along and he really came alive on the bend after the third last.
"I thought we were definitely getting to Ballycasey when he fell. We were only one length down when he fell and I thought we were going to win."