The maroon colours of Gigginstown have never been too far away from the winner’s enclosure at Leopardstown all week but there was an unfamiliar sight on Friday when Mark Walsh carried the stud’s famous silks to Grade 1 novice chase success on Shattered Love.
Walsh, best known for his association with JP McManus, was riding his first winner for the champion owners on Shattered Love, who led home a Gordon Elliott-trained one-two in the Neville Hotels Novice Chase, with Jury Duty running a fine race just under two lengths back in second.
“That was my first winner for Gigginstown and I was thankful for Gordon picking up the phone and giving me the ride,” said Walsh.
“I’m usually on the other team but it’s nice to get a ride on a mare like her. She's big – over 17 hands – so chasing was always going to be her thing, and she was very game as I was in front from about six out. She was very good.”
The race was not run without incident, with short-priced favourite Monalee crashing out and bringing down Rathvinden with him at the tenth fence.
For Elliott, who can do no wrong and won the other Grade 1 on the card with Mick Jazz 35 minutes later, it was the second time in 24 hours one of his mares had done him proud on the big stage after Apple’s Jade's last-gasp victory in the Stayers Hurdle on Thursday.
The trainer said: “She's a nice one to have. She's a big honest mare and she handled that better ground a lot better than I thought she would. Mark said she loved it and she jumped from fence to fence.
“She looked a little bit fortunate as there were a couple of fallers in the race but that's just the name of the game, isn't it? She galloped out the whole way to the line."
Elliott added: “I don't know where she'll go after this but there are lots of different options as she jumps well and stays, and proved that she handles that better ground.”