Cheltenham Festival: Don Poli lands Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hurdle
Owner Michael O'Leary celebrated a big-price Cheltenham Festival treble with Don Poli winning the Martin Pipe Handicap.
Last Updated: 14/03/14 5:35pm
The 12/1 shot, ridden by Mikey Fogarty and trained by Willie Mullins, hit the front after the final flight and proved far too strong for Thomas Crapper in the final furlong to win by four lengths.
Ryanair boss O'Leary, who owns the Gigginstown House Stud, had earlier tasted success with Tiger Roll in the Triumph Hurdle and Very Wood in the Albert Bartlett.
With plenty of young riders looking to shine, the race was run at a strong pace, and there were at least 15 runners covered by less than five lengths when the field flew the second last.
Joseph Palmoswki brought Thomas Crapper with a long run from the back of the field to hit the front jumping that flight but he was soon challenged by Don Poli and Fogarty and the pair began to draw clear.
But Thomas Crapper was not fluent at the last and was soon beaten, having to hold off the challenges of third placed Caid Du Berlais and Urbain De Sivola, who came home fourth.
O'Leary said: "I think I've died and gone to heaven, it's amazing.
"He won three miles last time out and I had no plans to come here, but Willie felt it took a stayer to win the race and that's a fantastic performance by Willie, he's a genius trainer.
"Mikey gave him a brilliant ride and I couldn't be happier."
Mullins said: "That was terrific. We've had a bit of luck in this race, winning it with Sir Des Champs, and I really wanted to make sure we have a runner now we have Mikey based with us.
"He was a good amateur, has recently turned professional and it looks as though he's going to make the grade. The horse won well and I'm delighted to finish the Festival with a winner.
"It was starting to look like nothing today was going to go right after Ruby (Walsh) got injured, Paul (Townend) got injured and then we were nudged out of a Gold Cup."