Spillane's Tower claims Grade 1 honours for Grand National-winning trainer Jimmy Mangan

Spillane's Tower returns to winning ways in the Grade 1 WillowWarm Gold Cup at Fairyhouse.

Racecourse : Fairyhouse (Ireland)
Racecourse : Fairyhouse (Ireland) Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Sixteen years on from Jimmy Mangan's breakthrough Grade 1 success with Conna Castle, JP McManus' Spillane's Tower would ensure the County Cork handler was back in the big-race winners' enclosure when staying on strongly to claim the very same top-level prize his trainer landed all those years ago.

Willie Mullins' Blood Destiny was sent off the 6/4 favourite to confirm his superiority over Spillane's Tower, having beaten the JP McManus-owned horse in the Grade 3 Flyingbolt Novice Chase at Navan four weeks ago.

However, this time it would be Spillane's Tower who would come out on top. The Jimmy Mangan-trained six-year-old travelled strongly down towards the inside in the hands of Mark Walsh before showing a willing attitude in the closing stages.

A mistake at the last cost Blood Destiny any real chance and he would have to settle for third as stablemate Tactical Move stayed on well to fill the runner-up spot.

"From day one we've liked this horse and he's taken to fences really well," said Mangan, who saddled Monty's Pass to win the world's most famous steeplechase in 2003. "I'm so delighted for the lads at home in the yard, Pat Murphy rides him every day, and the McManus family for sending him to me."

"We only have about a dozen horses and most of them are pointers. This horse is only a six-year-old and his future is ahead of him. When the ground dries, he'll go home to Martinstown and next year will be the plan.

"I couldn't see why he wouldn't stay three miles, but that will be for next year. He's by a great sire in Walk In The Park.

"I spoke to Jody Townend, and she said the ground is a bit tacky, more so on the hurdle course than the chase, so I was happy enough.

"Willie is an incredible trainer and a gentleman into the bargain. He even wished me well before the race today and vice versa, I wished him well."

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