Woods Well denied the late surge of hot favourite Rashaan to win the Ryans Cleaning Chase at Galway on Tuesday.
The Colin Kidd-trained Rashaan won a Grade Three at the Galway Festival two months ago and with the form having been boosted by those behind him, the six-year-old was a 5-6 market leader to follow up on his return to Ballybrit.
It was clear from an early stage it was not going to be plain sailing for Rashaan, with Robbie Power’s mount safe rather than spectacular at his obstacles and he appeared to be struggling to keep tabs on Gordon Elliott’s 7-2 shot Woods Well and the Willie Mullins-trained Minella Beau.
However, Power’s perseverance paid off as Rashaan closed up on the leading pair before the home turn and he darted up the inner at the top of the straight to join Woods Well for the lead.
The pair settled down to fight it out up the Galway hill, but it was Woods Well and Davy Russell who won the battle by a neck.
Minella Beau was five and a half lengths away in third.
Elliott said: “He’s a grand, honest horse. Ours normally all come on from their first run and I thought he’d come on from it as well. Davy said he had a nice blow.
“The race suited him, Davy gave him a good ride and he jumped well.
“That’s why Davy is so good. If they had gone an end-to-end flat out gallop it would have played straight into Rashaan’s hands. Rashaan was only getting going at the end.
“It was a nice race to win. I’d say we’ll look at the Troytown at Navan with him.”