Leopardstown: Faugheen flops as Mick Jazz flies to Ryanair Hurdle win

Jockey Davy Russell had an eventful day as the suffered a heavy fall from Monalee before winning the Ryanair Hurdle
Jockey Davy Russell had an eventful day as the suffered a heavy fall from Monalee before winning the Ryanair Hurdle

Mick Jazz took the top prize as trainer Gordon Elliott dominated a dramatic final day at the Leopardstown festival.

Jockey Davy Russell was on-board Mick Jazz as the 14-1 chance won the Ryanair Hurdle after odds-on favourite Faugheen pulled up with two left to jump.

Cilaos Emery lost a tense battle with the eventual winner in the closing stages with Campeador finishing third.

Earlier, Shattered Love led home an Elliott one-two in the other Grade One race, the Neville Hotels Novice Chase.

Faugheen, the 2015 Champion Hurdle winner, marked his return to the track after an absence of almost two years with a victory in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November.

The nine-year old was expected to continue his winning streak in the day's feature race but the Willie Mullins-trained star began to fade on the approach to the second-last flight and jockey Paul Townend decided to pull up and dismount.

The shock exit left Cilaos Emery in front ahead of Mick Jazz but it was the Elliott-trained runner who surged clear from the final flight to claim the Grade One contest.

Russell, who also helped Mind's Eye to victory in the EBF Novice Handicap Hurdle, was surprised by the retirement of the favourite.

"I couldn't believe Paul (Townend) just wasn't travelling with the same zest down the back and then this lad jumped on the bridle" said Russell.

"He had to be tough to pass Cilaos Emery but, to be fair, he landed at the back of the last and he just wanted it a bit more. He's a tough horse."

It rounded off a successful day for County Meath-based Elliott, who also saddled the first two past the post in an eventful renewal of the Novice Chase.

Shattered Love beat stablemate Jury Duty to the top prize with Bon Papa finishing in third after evens favourite Monalee crashed out on the back straight.

The Henry de Bromhead-trained six-year-old had been expected to maintain his unbeaten record over fences before his dramatic tumble, which also brought down the Willie Mullins runner Rathvinden.

Analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght on the disappointing performance of Faugheen

This couldn't have been much further away from the joy of the brilliant former Champion Hurdler's successful return from injury at Punchestown after a 22-month absence in November.

There's nothing obviously wrong with him - not, to be fair, the first of Willie Mullins' horses to disappoint this week, plus he lost Nichols Canyon - and he and the team will be hoping something is found, otherwise Faugheen's racing future may be in doubt.

This all provided another twist in the most dramatic of weeks at the Dublin track where Sizing John suffered a high-profile defeat on day three. The big names are keeping the vets busy.

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"Obviously Faugheen looked to be a certainty, but there is no such thing as a certainty in horse racing. I just hope he's OK," said trainer Gordon Elliott.

"He'll have to have an entry now in the Champion Hurdle because you never know, but we'll enjoy today first.

"There was no race to run him in, this was the only race we could really run in and we were running for prize-money.

"It just goes to show if you're not in these races, you can't win them. Today was our day and we're delighted. He's not a bad horse."

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