Beat That takes Novice Hurdle for Henderson

Lambourn trainer Nick Henderson

Lambourn trainer Nick Henderson

First published in Sport

Beat That showed guts and class in equal measure to claim the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.

An 11-8 favourite following an impressive display on his first start over three miles at Aintree, the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old travelled powerfully in the hands of Barry Geraghty.

Ruby Walsh was far more animated aboard the Willie Mullins-trained Don Poli at the top of the home straight, but stuck to his guns to make a race of it.

The two touched down almost as one after jumping the final flight, but Beat That won the argument by three-quarters of a length.

Henderson has the summer to consider whether his charge should remain over hurdles next season or pursue a career over fences.

He said: “Barry said he wasn’t quite as fresh as he felt at Aintree, but that was a tough race.

“He’s a very progressive horse.

“He missed Cheltenham, went to Aintree and is a very exciting one to put away over the summer to think about what we're going to do.

“He and Whisper are the two that look like chasers, but the three-mile (hurdle) division is wide open and we do have to think about whether one stays over hurdles for another season.

“Which one does, I don’t know.”

Geraghty said: “He’s a big, weak horse and I didn't want to get into a scrap too soon.

“He should be a real horse next year.”

Meanwhile, Willie Mullins’ Boston Bob clinched the Punchestown Gold Cup.

The 5-2 favourite saw off the challenge of First Lieutenant and Henderson’s Long Run who finished second and third respectively.

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