The Liquidator en route to victory under Jane ManganPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Pipe strikes with The Liquidator in bumper
Report: Punchestown, Wednesday
Betdaq The Peoples Exchange Champion INH Flat Race (Grade 1) 2m, 4-7yo
THE LIQUIDATOR gave David Pipe and Jane Mangan victory, boosting the form of the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham where the five-year-old had finished fourth behind Briar Hill, who was scratched from the race earlier in the day.
It was a sweet victory for Mangan, who was denied a Cheltenham Festival winner in heartbreaking fashion as Oscar Delta unseated her when leading up the run in in the Foxhunter Chase last month.
With no Briar Hill the race was thrown wide open, with Blackmail quickly out into the lead. The Mighty Milan, Posiden Sea and The Liquidator were all in close proximity with little change to the running order for much of the race.
Rounding the final turn the complexion of the race began to change as The Mighty Milan wilted, and Mangan unleashed her challenge to hit the front.
Gilt Shadow had come even wider and appeared a danger, but The Liquidator continued to find in front, holding on by two and three-quarter lengths, from Gilt Shadow, with Apache Stronghold third.
Pipe said: "There's not a lot of the horse but he's very tough and gutsy and a real trier. It probably helped with the favourite coming out and our horse has been on the go for a long time. He proved when second at Cheltenham in November that he's a decent horse and he has gone on from then. He'll be a smashing hurdler next year.
"Jane came well-recommended to us and she gave the horse a fantastic ride and it's lovely to win in Ireland."