JESSICA Harrington, whose Pierse Hurdle winner Studmaster will by-pass Saturday's totesport Trophy at Newbury in favour of an engagement at Leopardstown on Sunday, continued her revival when Mercuric triumphed at Down Royal yesterday.
Mrs.Harrington expressed the hope that her string, including Moscow Flyer and Mac's Joy which worked satisfactorily yesterday morning, is back on song after greeting Mercuric and Tommy Treacy following their smooth success over hard-ridden Derrykeel in the Bank Of Ireland Global Markets Maiden Hurdle.
Andrew Leigh, who works for Mrs.Harrington and whose father Eamonn is her 'travelling headman' enjoyed a welcome change of luck when Huncheon Paddy landed the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase, giving Leigh his first win since August.
Huncheon Paddy was the first leg of a double for northern trainer Ian Ferguson completed by locally-owned MrMcauley in the Sean Small Memorial Beginners Chase.
Mr Mcauley, which finished fifth in the Cheltenham Bumper as a young horse, was ridden by champion amateur Derek O'Connor, deputising for Davy Russell, who was stood down after an earlier fall from Akinola.
Barry Geraghty and Denis O'Regan were also shaken after falls but hope to resume at Thurles today, but claimer Denis Hogan sustained a suspected broken collar-bone in a fall from Glenmore Boy.
Derek O'Connor completed his own double on board the Philip Rothwell-trained Gotcha Covered, which outpointed favourite Shiloh in the bumper.
Cheltenham could be on the agenda for the Edward O'Grady-trained Letterman after his impressive win under Paddy Flood in the Bank Of Ireland Hurdle.
Always travelling well, Letterman readily got the better of County Final and Levitator to justify favouritism and record his second win over hurdles. The Royal & Sun Alliance Novice Hurdle looks the likely Festival target for Simon Tindall's Presenting gelding.