Edward O’Grady’s Staying Article, who hadn’t jumped an obstacle in public since finishing a creditable third in a big handicap at Leopardstown in January, produced a fine display to land the Follow Us On Facebook Hurdle at Cork yesterday.
The seven-year-old, however, signalled that his turn was imminent with a decent effort on the flat at Galway last month and certainly answered every call from Patrick Mangan.
The winner took over from Ludo Et Emergo four out but Blackstairmountain, who went off favourite, ranged up as a big danger in the straight.
Staying Article, though, was in no mood to give in without a fight and, despite hitting the last, found plenty on the flat to hold his rival by a length.
Said O’Grady: “We had three options this weekend and decided this was the one of least resistance!
“He’s in the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse (on a Sunday), but there’s a race there the day before and he may go for that instead.”
It is no exaggeration to describe Shay Barry as a veteran at this stage, but veteran or not he was simply terrific aboard Eoin Doyle’s Come To The Party in the corkracecourse.ie Handicap Hurdle.
Come To The Party made virtually all of the running, with Barry throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at him up the straight to hold Top Madam.
“When he went up 13lbs for winning at Clonmel, I thought that was that”, reported Doyle.
“Shay gave him a great ride. He wants three miles and that’s why we bucked out and made it.”
The Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals hero, Champagne Fever, came through his first jumping test with flying colours when easily taking the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle.
He was slick and accurate at his flights, made most of the running and coasted up the straight to score hard held for Paul Townend.
His trainer, Willie Mullins, was at Punchestown, but one could see the grey heading for the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse.
Mullins, who had three winners at Punchestown, completed a double at Cork when Tennis Cap was far too good for long odds-on Thunder And Roses in the www.racinghomeforeaster.com Maiden Hurdle.
Carrying the famous Florida Pearl colours of Violet O’Leary, this was a good start to the campaign for the five-year-old, who disappointed on several occasions last season.
But he travelled really well through the race, led for Townend over the third last and was always in control from that point.
“I’d say we were lucky”, said Robert Tyner realistically, after his Instant Impacked had won the Christmas Party Raceday December 9th Handicap Chase.
Going to the final fence top weight, Echo Boy, looked sure to score, but made a dreadful blunder, essentially handing the contest to the winner.
“He’s improving all of the time and we will now see what crops up”, concluded Tyner.
Tony Martin’s Lord Of Tara was all the rage in the Bumper, but Tyner’s Way Up In The Air easily turned him over.
Damien Skehan was in the plate and he made his move well before the home turn. Lord Of Tara was soon in pursuit, but always fighting a losing battle against the imposing mare.
Commented Tyner: “This was her last chance in a bumper and she will now return to Cork on December 9 for a maiden hurdle.”
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