Will he? Won’t He? Was the burning question of the hour as people arrived at a gloriously sunlit Punchestown last Sunday.
Samcro was the cause of all the speculation. With local hope Supasundae already out of the Morgiana Hurdle, the field was beginning to look a bit threadbare.
Gordon Elliott said he would decide after the first race but it was already looking pretty unlikely and it was in fact just after the second that the call was made to officially take him out.
Fast ground being a problem at Punchestown in November is unusual to say the least of it, but it seemed to suit My Hometown who won the Risk Of Thunder for Enda Bolger and J P McManus.
As high as 14/1 in early trading, he was clipped on course from 7/1 to 9/2 and scored under Donie Mcinnerney in what was a pretty eventful contest.
There had been high hopes for My Hometown at a much higher level in his younger days.
Nothing really came of that but nobody better than Enda Bolger to make a man of him in these races over the banks course.
Still only eight, he could have a bright future at the cross country game.
Dessie McDonogh, dad of ace flat jockey Declan, trained dual Champion Hurdler Monksfield back in the day.
By those kind of standards it has been relatively slim pickings since.
But this highly popular handler is still around and he sent out Hearts Are Trumps 4/1 to win the handicap hurdle to make it a quick double for owner J P McManus.
John ‘Shark” Hanlon is enjoying a revival, and Rachael Blackmore steered Mighty Stowaway 13/2 home to win for the second time in a week.
Then the serious business kicked off with the Florida Pearl Novice Chase.
Blow By Blow was far from foot perfect for Davy Russell but seemed to have enough done.
However just as punters were calculating their winnings there was a nasty sting in the tail.
The jolly was chinned late on by David Mullins and Some Neck 7/1 who, appropriately enough, won by a neck.
A Stewards Enquiry was called almost right away but it was no surprise that the result stood.
Just proves the old theory that when something looks too good to be true, it generally is. Even money for Blow By Blow seemed a chance to simply buy money, but it proved nothing of the sort.
Those happy to take odds on were reeling after the next when 2/5 hot pot
Faugheen was slammed by stablemate Sharjah who was chalked up at 7/2.
Hope I’m wrong but Faugheen looked a light of other days here, though two miles is much too short for him anyway.
The best wine though was kept ’til last. Malone Road, the 5/6 jolly, simply bolted away from the highly rated Mullins trained Mt Leinster 6/5 and Gordon Elliott immediately said that the next time we will see him is in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
He could take beating there and either way put him in your notebook as he looks very special.