Russell guides Portant Fella to smooth success

DAVY RUSSELL, riding out of his skin, gave Portant Fella a typically confident drive to win the Hurdle at a packed Waterford track yesterday.

Joanna Morgan's charge cruised through the contest, as Ruby Walsh made it on River Nurey. Russell waited until just after two out before hitting the front and Portant Fella was soon in control.

Morgan wasn't at the meeting, but Russell reported: “I spoke to her this morning and she was worried about the ground.

“I walked the track, however, and it was beautiful. Portant Fella travelled and jumped great through the race.”

Dermot Weld's Mutakarrim was backed from 9-10 to 8-11, but this enigmatic character was struggling from a fair way out.

Bookmakers began their day with a screamer when 25-1 shot Upyaboya turned over Fayr Star, 3-1 to 7-4, in the Waterford and Tramore Supporters' Club Maiden Hurdle.

The winner led over two out and though Fayr Star soon threatened danger, there was still a neck between them at the line.

Tom Ryan was aboard the Joe Murphy trained gelding and said: “I smashed my cheekbone at the Grand National meeting at Fairyhouse and was out for eleven weeks. I only returned two weeks before Galway and this is my second winner since then.”

Gerry Cully, on the mark earlier in the week with Markason, did it again when Rog took the Queally Group Handicap Chase.

Davy Condon, he also partnered Markason, produced the eight-year-old with impeccable timing between the final two fences. Rog threw a huge leap at the last and then scampered clear on the flat. Said Cully: “He's a very hard horse to get right and I cannot say enough about the man on his back.”

Dow Jones, a terrific servant to the Michael Halford yard, ran out an easy winner of the Graun Hill Chase. He has a fine record at Tramore, this being his fifth success here - a mixture between the flat, fences and hurdles.

Dow Jones was always a very short price, but even those odds appeared generous, as he made all for Ruby Walsh to beat Rosamio relatively unextended by seven lengths.

Daniel Fogarty, who trains near Gowran Park, enjoyed a turn when 14-1 shot Grange Melody took the Waterford and Tramore Directors' Mares Handicap Hurdle. Tommy Treacy had the mare in front before two out and she kept gpoing to beat Banna's. Well-backed favourite Swiss Hall was behind before getting it wrong three from home and could never get in a blow. Humm Bee slipped up in this race and rider, Robert Power, was stood down for 48 hours with a sprained shoulder.

Power missed a winner when replaced by Denis O'Regan on Battledress in the Bank Of Ireland Beginners Chase. Marfinca was all the rage in the ring and the wagers seemed in safe keeping when he kicked coming away from the third last. But Battledress gradually reeled him in, forging past on the run in.

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