For the second year in a row the Michael Linehan Heart Safe Hunter Chase went the way of trainer Enda Bolger as his Stand Up And Fight ran out a comprehensive winner at Killarney on Monday evening.
Aine O’Connor set out her intentions from the drop of the flag as she immediately sent the ten-year-old to the front, and with the blinkers which had been absent since his disappointing performance at Down Royal last Christmas reapplied, the pair jumped from fence to fence.
Main market rival Diese Des Bieffes briefly joined the favourite at parts, but that two-time open winner from the autumn campaign was let down by his jumping as he failed to give his fence any great height and he was a spent force when making his most serious blunder two-out.
By that stage the former Midlands National winner Na Trachtalai Abu had set off in pursuit of Stand Up And Fight, however he was never able to get any closer than the three lengths that he had trailed him by entering the home straight as Stand Up And Fight picked-up again on the run-in.
The JP McManus-owned gelding powered clear in the closing stages to defeat Ray Barron’s mount by 11 lengths with a yawning 21 lengths back to Snugsborough Benny who completed the placings in third.
The victory of Stand Up And Fight followed the success of Staker Wallace for both Bolger and McManus in the 2021 edition of the race.