Johnny Ward reports from Leopardstown
Hugely popular trainer Paul Nolan won his first Grade 1 contest since 2013 as Latest Exhibition landed a brilliant renewal of the first race of the 2020 Dublin Racing Festival at a wind-swept Leopardstown.
Ridden by Bryan Cooper, Latest Exhibition showed tremendous battling qualities to get the better of Cobbler's Way and the game Longhouse Poet in the €150,000 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors '50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff' Novice Hurdle.
He was comfortably on top of his rivals at odds of 7/2, with Nolan now dreaming of Cheltenham glory with the gelding, who so nearly was sold out of the yard after winning his previous race at Navan.
A remarkably tight contest in the betting, Fury Road was sent off 9/4 favourite, but he never really got involved and finished fourth.
"It was just great to keep this horse in the yard. His breeder, Jim Mernagh, sold him into partnership with other owners in the yard - keeping the Wexford colours on his back," Nolan said after the race.
"He races a bit lazy but he has an engine. I'm absolutely delighted."
There were scenes of joy in the parade ring post-race, testament to the popularity of Nolan, with many also happy to see Cooper back among the winners at the top level.
Latest Exhibition is as low as 6/1 for the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
Nolan also joined Friday Night Racing
this week to talk about the highs and lows of being a trainer, you can watch that interview here
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