The search for a first win since the 2016 Cheltenham Festival is finally over for Ivanovich Gorbatov after he claimed victory in the RYBO Handicap Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
It has been a long three years for Joseph O’Brien and his yard since their last win in the Triumph Hurdle three years ago.
The signs of this win, however, have been there for all to see, as he successfully took a step in the right direction at Leopardstown in the Dublin Racing Festival in February, when he finished third. He was an 11/1 chance on this start; his first since that appearance in Ireland.
JJ Slevin rode the seven-year-old strongly throughout in the midfield, before finally making his move on the frontrunners around the turn for home.
It was a great run by Ivanovic Gorbatov, and the finish was the dream ending. He shot clear between the final two hurdles and had enough remaining in the tank to hold off the challenge of Tudor City by two and a half lengths.
Speaking after the win, O’Brien said:
“They went quick, and he enjoys that. He travels, and he jumps very well.
“He probably got there a little bit sooner than ideal, but he got a good jump at the last, and that probably finished it for the rest of them.
“He was working well, but you don’t know what you’re going to get with him.
“Things fell his way today, it’s a lovely pot, and I’m delighted for JP.”