Super stuff from Sundae as Samcro and Melon crash out
Another Punchestown Grade 1 race laced with drama as odds-on favourite Samcro and Melon, main rival and Champion Hurdle runner-up, both crashed out of the Betdaq Punchestown Champion Hurdle at the third-last, leaving Supasundae to land the €165,000 first prize for Jessica Harrington.
Touted as the second coming, the prevously unbeaten Samcro, who had won the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, went off the 5-6 favourite to extend his unbeaten run under rules to eight. However the complexion of the race changed when both he and Melon fell independently as they were closing on the front-running Wicklow Brave.
From that point last year's winner was overtaken by Supasundae approaching the final flight, who duly went on score by three and a quarter lengths under Robbie Power.
Harrington, who had won the race on three previous occasions, with Moscow Flyer (2001), Macs Joy (2006) and Jezki (2014), said: "It looks as if we've been running him over the wrong trip."
It was Supasundae's second Grade 1 win following his victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle in February, and Harrington was referring to the fact the eight-year-old, who carries the silks of the late Ann and Alan Potts, had done a lot of his racing over two and a half miles and three miles.
Since defeating Faugheen in the Irish Champion Hurdle, he had run second to Penhill in the 3m Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham and second to L'Ami Serge in the Aintree Hurdle over 2m4f.
She added: "We might have got a bit lucky but you need a bit of luck now and then. He was upsides the two fallers three out and who knows what might have happened. When Supasundae got to the front he didn't do very much."
Power, enjoying his second success in the race having also won on Silent Oscar in 2007, said: "Supasundae is a remarkable horse and a very good one. Two miles or three miles come the same to him.
"He's been very consistent all season, and while he was flat to the boards today he kept picking up every time I squeezed him.
"I was with Melon and Samcro when they fell and I thought I was going as well as them."
Patrick Mullins, rider of the second Wicklow Brave, said: "He's a really tough horse and to his credit he was coming back in the closing stages."
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