Ruby Walsh’s flying visit to Far Hills to ride in Saturday’s American Grand National reaped rich reward, and the rush home also earned dividend as he recorded a near 35-1 double at Mallow racecourse.
Walsh produced the Eric McNamara-trained The Fitz Lady with a strong late rush to take the Christmas Party Package Handicap Hurdle, but rode New Kid In Town prominently to take the Irish Stallions Farms EBF Novice Chase for trainer Willie Mullins.
Of his experience in New Jersey, where he partnered Rawnaq to victory, Walsh said: “It was a great experience, an amazing day out. You’d have to wonder, looking at it, did our summer tracks miss a trick - the way they do it, with all the cars in the middle, and the picnics.
“We don’t have the climate, so you can’t blame our winter tracks, but I wonder is there something here which our summer tracks could be taking out of it.
“It was an unbelievable atmosphere. There were 35 or 40 thousand people there, no grandstands, no big infrastructure, people all just parked in the middle, and families having a good day out, playing American football, lacrosse and whatever else, at half 10 in the morning.
“It was a bit like a bigger version of Cartmel. It was really something to see, was very well run, and I just think there could be something there for our bigger summer tracks.”
Templemore trainer John Ryan has had his string in fine form for quite some time, and Draycott Place, one of the stars of the stable, secured a sixth victory inside the rails when landing the featured race, the Kinsale Handicap Chase.
Ridden by Danny Mullins, he was prominent throughout and this powerfully built gelding quickened up late to win with plenty to spare.
“I always thought he was a very good horse, and Danny (Mullins) thinks the same,” said Ryan. “He’s only a seven-year-old, and he’s a lovely, classy horse. The beautiful thing about him is that I could run him anywhere from two to three miles.
“We’ll try find another big handicap for him, maybe the Paddy Power Chase (Leopardstown).”
After a good effort in defeat at Clonmel the Jessica Harrington-trained Light That benefited from a clever front-running ride by Paul Townend in the opening Corkracecourse.ie Maiden Hurdle.
“It wasn’t the plan to make all, but we didn’t go any gallop, he popped the first, and so I let him stride on,” said Townend. “He was having a good look around him in front but he’s a fine stamp of a horse, who improved from his first run and, hopefully, will improve again.”
Blood Crazed Tiger may not have won the three-mile novice hurdle by a wide margin, but the odds-on shot, who set out to make all, never looked likely to relinquish his lead, despite being keen throughout for David Mullins.
A drop back in trip could be on the agenda for the impressive gelding who, like most Gigginstown House Stud horses, promises to thrive when sent over fences.
Said Elliott: “We dropped him in at Gowran, but today it was a cat-and-mouse race so David made the running. A stronger gallop would suit him, and we could drop back to two and a half miles next time.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved