Whatuthink about that? Doyle floors Vedette
Report: Navan, Sunday
Lismullen Gurdle (Grade 2) 2m4f, 4yo+
SIX-RUNNER Grade 2s with a 1-7 favourite don't usually result in much excitement - it's more a case of watching awe-struck as class is stamped on a race - but an opportunistic ride by Tom Doyle saw Voler La Vedette floored in emphatic fashion by Whatuthink.
In contrast to his from-behind Grade 1 win on Follow The Plan at Aintree in the Betfred Bowl this April, Doyle made all on the ten-year-old Whatuthink, setting a solid pace and kicking early to run the finish out of his rivals.
It was a brilliant ride from Doyle. He spent the majority of the first half of the race with only Mossley and, for the first circuit Head Waiter, as the only horses within ten lengths as he stretched the field.
A confident Andrew Lynch, already victorious on the card with Sizing Rio, was held up in last, some 15 lengths off the leader for most of the first circuit. Going down the back straight Doyle got a breather into his mount and the field bunched in behind.
For the first time less than ten lengths covered the six, with Doyle still in front of Lynch and Voler La Vedette, who was travelling ominously well. Rounding the home turn Doyle took a look behind and kicked again, opening up on the field while Lynch moved menacingly from fifth to second.
But Doyle had the advantage and by kicking his mount on was able to counter Voler La Vedette's move, jumping the last two hurdles and galloping to the line to register a surprise victory at 25-1 by four and a quarter lengths.
Winning trainer Oliver McKiernan said: "He has always had ability and I think we had fitness on our side today.
"It was a great performance by him but maybe fitness over the others was the key. He was tipping away all summer while the other were just starting out. He loves that ground and he kept going.
"He will go to Leopardstown now at Christmas and he might run before then. The plan was to make plenty of use of him and if they were good enough to go by him so be it."
BetVictor reacted by easing Voler La Vedette for both the Mares' Hurdle (14-1 from 12) and World Hurdle 12-1 from 10) at the Cheltenham Festival.