Sergio Garcia may have gone home with the Green Jacket at Augusta last weekend in Golf’s Masters tournament, but it was the turn of Augusta Kate to claim victory at Fairyhouse as she mastered 8/13 favourite and stable companion Let’s Dance in the closing stages to register a half-length victory at Fairyhouse on Easter Sunday in the G1 Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Mares Novice Hurdle.
Sixth in the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, the six-year-old was held in this event over two miles and four furlongs by young rider David Mullins but made stealthy headway entering the home straight to look a potent danger to her much-vaunted stable companion, who took the lead after the second-last flight.
However, approaching the final hurdle, Augusta Kate and Mullins drew upsides Ruby Walsh and Let’s Dance and despite making a real hash of the hurdle, stayed on well under pressure to win a shade cosily.
The 8/1 shot has always been a horse full of promise and this was finally her big day in the sun for prominent owners including former England international and the Premier League’s all-time leading scorer Alan Shearer, former World No.1 golfer Lee Westwood and TV presenters Ant and Dec.
Her delighted trainer, Closutton handler Mullins, said:
She wasn’t happy with the gear we had on her at Cheltenham. We took off the chifney (bit) and ear plugs and it seems to have suited her a lot better. She flattened the last and doesn’t know how to jump at that speed and still picked up.
She’s improved a lot and hopefully there is more to come. We’ll see how they come out of that before deciding about Punchestown. She probably learned from Cheltenham and maybe that is a better trip for her.
Let’s Dance came to win her race and had no real excuses. She didn’t seem as happy throughout the race as I would have hoped, but still came through with what looked a winning run.