A Toi Phil 
Image by www.healyracing.ie

A Toi Phil took the drop in class in his stride to readily win the Grade Three Horse & Jockey Hotel Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles.

With Nambour a non-runner, just the four horses went to post for a race won by the last two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners over the past three years.

This year’s race got underway with American Tom setting off in front of Woodland Opera, who matched strides with A Toi Phil, while Arctic Skipper was almost upsides this pair.

At the first, American Tom held a three length lead from the other three, who raced together.

With four fences jumped, the order remained the same, with American Tom maybe five lengths clear heading into the straight, while his three rivals remained virtually inseparable.

With a circuit to run, American Tom and Paul Townend still held the advantage, although his three pursuers were closer. A mistake by Arctic Skipper saw him drop a few lengths in arrears though.

American Tom headed to the third last two lengths ahead of A Toi Phil and Woodland Opera.

Turning for home, American Tom was challenged by A Toi Phil, the pair going clear.

The former blundered at the second last and that handed the initiative to A Toi Phil and Jack Kennedy, who took the last fence well and bound on to a straight forward victory.

American Tom kept on for second, with Woodland Opera, having lost his place before the home turn, getting third.

The victory of A Toi Phil will have been sweet for Gordon Elliott, who won this race in 2015 and 201 with Don Cossack, while this win brought up a treble on the card for the trainer.

Elliott said: “In his own grade, he is brilliant and won’t let you down and Jack gave him a great ride again today.

“It’s been a good day.”