IT'S almost three years since Paul Gilligan enjoyed a month he will never forget. On the 19th of March 2010 Berties Dream won the Grade One Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival and on April 4th Jadanli claimed the Grade One Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse.
It appeared to be a brace that would act as a springboard to Gilligan's training career, but despite those memorable victories, horseracing is a tough game and it wasn't until yesterday that the Galway handler enjoyed success anything like the aforementioned two.
The Thyestes Chase isn't on the same level as the Grade One successes of 2010, but 11-year-old Jadanli claimed his first victory since that Fairyhouse triumph to claim the prestigious Grade A handicap.
A 25/1 shock winner of the Thyestes, Jadanli stayed on gamely after the last to hold another 25/1 shot, Tarquinius, by a head.
"It's a nice pot to win, we are happy enough with that indeed," Gilligan said afterwards. "Andrew said he was just idling all the way up the straight and we had the cheekpieces on him as he is getting older and clever about the game but he is still a tough old warrior."
The natural progression for most Thyestes Chase winners is an assault on a Grand National and Jadanli will get entries for both Aintree and Fairyhouse although Gilligan imagines the ground in Liverpool will be too quick for his charge.
"He has had plenty of problems, but anytime you get them back to win any race is an achievement, let alone a Thyestes. Hopefully he'll be all right in the morning.
Gilligan trains Jadanli for his father Eamonn and he concluded: "All these races help. The smaller lad is nearly always forgotten in these races, we'll enjoy this when we get home but I don't think I'll be getting my dad drunk as he's a teetotaller!"
The Grade Two John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle saw Bog Warrior continue his progression through the staying hurdling ranks but trainer Tony Martin is still sitting tight about plans for the Cheltenham Festival.
The Galmoy appeared a match between Bog Warrior and Zaidpour and that is how it transpired with the front two pulling 35 lengths clear and it was the 8/11 favourite who prevailed by three and a quarter lengths.
"He's a very good horse - he's got class," Tony Martin said afterwards. "I wanted to get today out of the way and things are in the balance as regards Cheltenham. We have options - the World Hurdle, the Ryanair and the Gold Cup. Gigginstown have a lot of horses so it's in the balance."
Davy Russell who made all the running on the nine-year-old added: "Obviously the World Hurdle is an option. With Big Buck's out everyone is tempted by the World Hurdle and there's no doubt he's good enough."
Local trainer Willie Mullins saddled a first and last race double with Dogora just about holding on to oblige at 2/5 in the juvenile hurdle and he is now set to get an entry for the Fred Winter at Cheltenham.
Mullins' bumper winner Sizing Tennessee was the same price of 2/5 and he was more convincing going away from his rivals in the closing stages.
That bumper win has convinced Mullins that he is a Cheltenham Bumper candidate and he is a 25/1 shot with Ladbrokes for that race.