Barizan finally gets his reward at Punchestown

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Barizan finally gets his reward at Punchestown

Having knocked on more doors than a travelling salesman, Barizan finally got one to open for long enough to get the job done.

All the world loves a trier and this one deserved his victory in the Grade One Airshow 100 Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle on the final day of the Punchestown Festival.

Barizan had jumped the last hurdle in front in the Triumph Hurdle and its Aintree equivalent, only to get mugged both times with the wining post within touching distance. There was never going to be too much of a tactical discussion between trainer Evan Williams and Jason Maguire, although the jockey had sought the advice of regular rider Tony Moy, who was otherwise engaged at Sandown Park.

As ever Barizan made every post a winning post but, this time, when the one that mattered came into view, all that Maguire could see behind him was the view of Carlito Brigante making no progress.   

Barizan came home 12 lengths clear and Maguire completed one of the more unusual feats for a jump jokey, having ridden winners in four different countries in the last four racing days, travelling from to Perth, to Uttoxeter, to Bangor and then Punchestown. It may not quite be the same as Ascot, Longhamp, Churchill Downs and Meydan but Maguire was not complaining after the best season of his career.

There were big-race winners at both Cheltenham and Aintree, on star novice hurdler Peddlers Cross, and a first century of winners for a season; the last of which was provided by lifelong friend Gordon Elliott, the trainer of Carlito Brigante, and he was one of the first to congratulate Maguire.

“I never thought of that,” Maguire said of his globe-trotting tour. “Ninety-eight winners, with three days to go, because I had as suspension, I was half panicking whether I’d get to a hundred. To ride 11 winners in four days is unreal.”

The reality for Willie Mullins is that he had equalled his own record of 12 winners for the Punchestown Festival, with another double, headed by the victory of Tarla, having her first start for Mullins, who won the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association Fillies Scheme EBF Mares Hurdle.



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