O'Leary philosophical after Dortmund Park secures some consolation for Elliott
A middle-distance novice hurdle might be one of the less glamorous Grade 1s of the week but this was a race that seemed to epitomise much of the roller-coaster mayhem we have witnessed since Tuesday.
There was carnage, redemption and a victory for Gordon Elliott that felt a little hollow, or at least not enough.
By the time Dortmund Park coasted home clear of the Willie Mullins-trained pair Whiskey Sour and Burrows Saint in the Profile Systems Champion Novice Hurdle, the title race was mathematically beyond the young pretender.
After Samcro's fall in the previous race, it was timely consolation, but it was too little too late for Elliott.
However, in giving Jack Kennedy a prompt uplift, we again had echoes of Paul Townend's stirring comeback on Wednesday.
And there was drama aplenty here as well. When the front-running Debuchet fell two-out he badly impeded Mullins' chasing Scarpeta, who in turn sent stablemate Getabird crashing through the running rail that protruded to take them around the bend for home.
Debuchet's rider Danny Mullins was left with a possible fractured sternum, and Eddie O'Leary summed up the pandemonium pretty neatly after the Gigginstown firm's third win of the week.
"Things happened this week that will never happen again," he said in some bewilderment. "One day you're the windscreen, the next day you're the fly."
Twice successful in deep ground in January, Dortmund Park ran well to be fourth behind Tower Bridge when stepped up to this level the following month.
He was beaten 26 lengths in eighth behind Kilbricken Storm in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham, but seized the gilt-edged opportunity he was handed here to regain the winning thread in decision fashion.
"He was bought to be a good horse and he looked very promising," Elliott said subsequently after his fourth success of what has been a character-building week. "We've had to put a tongue-tie on him but he'll be a nice horse to go jumping fences next year."
He added: "It's great for Jack. No more than myself, he's had an up-and-down week, but that's brilliant now and thankfully Samcro is okay as well."
Elliott's Pallasator, sent off the 11-4 joint favourite with Getabird, never looked like landing a telling blow.
To his credit, Elliott has landed many of those throughout what has been another enthralling campaign. It wasn't to be, but, as we were reminded here, he will come again.
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