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Private Ryan continues upward trajectory in Downpatrick feature

Image © Healy Racing

Private Ryan backed-up his recent Punchestown Festival with a third success of the season as he pounced late to land the Dennison Commercials Hunter Chase.
Sent off as a 7/1 shot having won the Bishopscourt Cup at Punchestown earlier in the month, Jamie Scallan set off under patient tactics aboard the Henry Chamney-owned seven-year-old mindful that his mount had an extra mile in front of him.
Initially it was the former Champion Hunter Chaser, Billaway, who cut out the early running on his swansong, before Noel McParlan maintained the gallop aboard Gorthill by taking over just before the halfway point.
All the while Sean Doyle’s charge was in the final trio, and it was only after jumping the fourth-last that he began to pick-off rivals wide as Gorthill again tried to stretch the field.
With last year’s one-two Billaway and Vaucelet struggling to make much of an impression, with half-a-mile to race, Private Ryan cruised onto the heels of Caroline McCaldin’s leader at the second last.
Whilst Gorthill may have briefly looked to be going the better of the two protagonists in between the final two fences, Scallan was able to get his mount onto the standside rail climbing to the line, and they went on to land the spoils by half-a-length.
The former Grade 1 winner Battleoverdoyen was a further 11 lengths back in third, with last year’s runner-up, Vaucelet, only managing fourth 12 months on.
“It was great, especially after Punchestown to come here and back that up,” Scallan said. “He stepped up a mile in trip today to see if he would get home and in fairness to him, all he ever did was stay in the end.
“The race fell apart on me a bit going to the third-last fence, and I was fairly confident that I would it up from there.
“It’s been a great season this year, I rode 21 winners point-to-pointing so it has been my best season to date.”


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