Hat's off for Moore at Leopardstown
Pass The Hat threw his cap into the ring for the Irish Grand National when holding the challenge of Kylecrue to capture the Carrickmines Handicap Chase at Leopardstown.
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Trainer Arthur Moore also saddled the 9-2 favourite Home Farm, but he weakened into seventh place as his second-string obliged.
Pass The Hat (6-1) got the verdict by a length in the hands of Robbie Colgan after a terrific tussle that saw the pair take the last together, with He'llberemembered third.
"I'm delighted with that. He had a lovely weight in the race and Robbie gave him a lovely ride," said Moore.
"I shouldn't have run him in Limerick but I wasn't down there myself and, if I'd known the ground was that bad, I'd have pulled the plug. He came back well and he proved he gets the trip today.
"It's hard to get into an Irish National but if he got into it we'd have to think about it. If he doesn't, there is a novice handicap chase at Punchestown the following week which would look an obvious race."
Barry Geraghty produced Sailors Warn with a beautifully-timed run to foil the hot-pot Thousand Stars in the Ballsbridge Hurdle.
Thousand Stars tried to make all the running but looked vulnerable at the business end with Sailors Warn (5-1) leading after jumping the last and galloping away from the 10-11 favourite to score tidily by a length.
O'Grady said, "He was 5lb better off with Midnight Game than he would be in a handicap and it was then a case of how many 'Stars' turned up.
"He stood on a piece of steel about 18 months ago and it went up into his hoof and we couldn't get him sound. We were told there would be a 10 per cent chance he would ever be sound, so it's marvellous that he's come back sound and well."
Paul Carberry was on target with a double courtesy of Art Of Payroll and Easy Vic.
Art Of Payroll (7-4 favourite) benefited from a typically quiet Carberry ride to take the www.leopardstown.com Handicap Hurdle by two and a half lengths from Bishopslough.
"The intention coming away from here the last day was to go for the County Hurdle at Cheltenham but he's too far off the weights," said trainer Dessie Hughes.
"If by some miracle he does get in then he'll go, but if not he'll probably run at Liverpool."
Carberry had to work harder on Easy Vic in the Leopardstown Club Members Handicap Chase, but Tony Martin's well-backed 3-1 favourite finally outpointed Forever Gold by a head.
Is Love Alive (20-1) opened his account with a hard-fought win in the Leopardstown Club Summer Membership Maiden Hurdle.
Mikey Fogarty, deputising for the suspended Bryan Cooper, made the most of the opportunity as he steered the Paul Nolan-trained five-year-old to victory in the colours of Gigginstown House Stud by three-quarters of a length Emperor Of Exmoor.
Nolan said: "The bit better ground helped him wind-wise and that's the reason for the bit of improvement."
Mount Colah (6-1) overcame a mistake at the final fence to snatch victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase.
Jerry Cosgrave's runner was only third on landing but powered home under 5lb-claiming amateur Noel McParlan to win by a length and three-quarters from Moscow Mannon.
"He didn't just jump the way he usually does. Noel thought he'd lost it three out but he came back well and he's very gutsy. He has a nice bit of class, too," said Cosgrave.
"Being a front-runner he can be hard on himself and he's not a big horse. We'll look for a Graded race for him."
Off The Mark (9-4) did just that on his debut in the Killiney (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race for trainer Christy Roche and hs amateur rider son, Padraig.