Limerick hosted the return of National Hunt racing and right away there were familiar colours in the winner’s enclosure as Filon D’oudairies, owned by JP McManus, trained by Joseph O’Brien and ridden by Mark Walsh, made all the running to take the first division of the two-mile maiden hurdle.
The market spoke heavily in favourite of odds-on favourite Bentham but the winner, who was highly tried last season, jumped particularly well, and proved a couple of lengths too good.
Rebel Gold was a big price for the second division but ran out a fine winner for Paddy Kennedy and trainer Tom Foley. Jon Ess went on in the straight but the eventual winner, a 20-1 chance, challenged after the second-last and ran on strongly to post a career-best effort.
Local trainer Charles Byrnes was on the mark with Poseidon in the It’s Good To Be Back At Limerick Racecourse Hurdle. The winner travelled nicely, jumped slickly most of the way, and Cathal Landers gave him a well-judged ride to lead late.
Conor McBratney made the long journey from Co Down a worthwhile one when taking the Patrickswell Handicap Hurdle with Laureate. Ridden by Sean Flanagan, the 20-1 chance took it up after turning in and jumped the last two hurdles well on her way to a second career success.
Flanagan completed a 230-1 double when Hello Pilgrim took the two-mile-six handicap hurdle for trainer Colin Bowe. It was hard work much of the way but to her credit the mare found plenty to secure a second career success.
After two 20-1 winners on the card, punters sought solace in the Adare Mares’ Maiden Hurdle but found none as even-money favourite Flying Risk faded tamely in the straight as 40-1 chance Dame De Ruban obliged for Declan Queally.
The booking of Jamie Codd for the Harry Kelly-trained Derrinlaur Bill caught the eye in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF 4YO Fillies’ bumper and the combination duly obliged. They went no pace, which left it open to an upset, but the 5-1 chance quickened up nicely to challenge in the straight and ran on to beat Negroni, who was outpaced early in the straight but ran on well.
Henry De Bromhead does not win many bumpers, but Train Hill attracted support at big prices prior to the Cappamore Bumper and justified it with a fetching performance.
Favourite Jawbox went on turning for home but the winner produced a sustained effort to win in the style of a smart horse.