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Coney Island strikes to lead home McManus one-two

Coney Island (left) beats Anibale Fly under Mark Walsh
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Coney Island, the only horse in the seven-runner line-up without a win over fences, led home a one-two for owner JP McManus by beating Anibale Fly by two and a half lengths.

A race won by Don Cossack in 2013, Valseur Lido in 2014 and the ill-fated No More Heroes 12 months ago, all in the maroon colours of Gigginstown, McManus was enjoying his first success in the event since Le Coudray scored in 2002.

Result and analysis

Runner-up on his chasing debut at Punchestown last month, Coney Island, a dual winner over hurdles, won comfortably and rider Mark Walsh reported: "He jumped and travelled great and felt like a winner a long way out."

Trainer Eddie Harty said of the five-year-old: "He's won like a proper horse and that's what I hope he is. It was a case of running him in another beginners' chase or giving him a shot at this Grade 1 and we made the right choice.

"I don't blame Barry [Geraghty] for riding Anibale Fly instead of our fellow as he had won his beginners' chase and our horse hadn't. I gave Coney Island a better chance than his price last night and this morning suggested as, on Racing Post Ratings, he was quite well in although having a bit to find with A Toi Phil.

"He might go for the three-mile Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting and if he doesn't go there he could wait for the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase there in February. He stays well but he also has a lot of toe, so we'll have plenty of options.

Tony Martin, trainer of Anibale Fly, said: "I'm happy. He's run a good race. They got away from us a bit but he stayed on well."

Alpha Des Obeaux, on whom Mark Enright made most of the the running, was two and a quarter lengths back in third, giving the impression that going back up in trip will suit.

Diamond King, the 9-4 favourite, looked held when blundering at the final fence and trainer Gordon Elliott said: "He just ran out of petrol. He needs better ground, so I'm not too disappointed. A Toi Phil (sixth) had an off day and after his two wins last month this might have been a race too many. We'll freshen him up and make a plan.

He's won like a proper horse and that's what I hope he is

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