Improving Don’t Touch It (6g Scorpion-Shandora, by Supreme Leader) brought a Punchestown Festival Grade 1 success for Scorpion on Tuesday when bagging the G1 Herald Champion Novice Hurdle for in-form trainer Jessica Harrington.
An impressive Leopardstown maiden hurdle winner, he relished the better going at Punchestown and showed great resilience to score under Barry Geraghty for owner J P McManus. Hot favourite Yorkhill, a winner at Cheltenham and Aintree this season, proved no match for Don’t Touch It, who was bred by Michael Ryan.
“He was fantastic,” said Harrington. “I always thought he was going to be a better horse on decent ground and he got bogged down at Naas last time. He’d won a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown very easily before that. This was a hell of a step up but he just couldn’t jump out of that heavy ground last time.
“He’s always been a nice horse and works well. He seems to be tough as old boots and I’ve done well with Scorpions. I think two miles is his trip for now but I’ve no idea what he’ll do next year. I’ll talk to J P and Frank (Berry).”
Winning rider Barry Geraghty added: “Don’t Touch It had a good look going to the last. He rallied well and it was a good performance. Jessie thought he had a chance and it was a good race for him, so it was a good call by her.”