Psycho back-to-form with bloodless success

PSYCHO, pulled up behind Poquelin at Cheltenham previously, got back on the winning trail when taking the Grade 3 Beamish Stout Phil Sweeney Memorial Chase at Thurles yesterday.

Easy to back in the ring, Tony Martin’s charge was always travelling sweetly in the slipstream of Let Yourself Go.

Paul Carberry eased him ahead coming away from the second last and Psycho only had to be pushed out to beat Quiscover Fontaine.

Said Martin: “He landed on the fifth fence at Cheltenham and then made three or four mistakes and Davy (Russell) did the right thing pulling him up.

“He schooled at Naas recently for Paul, jumped well and got his confidence back. We’ll stick him in races at Cheltenham and Fairyhouse and see what turns up.”

Bookmakers began their afternoon with a screamer when 33-1 shot Slippers Percy beat odds-on Arabella Boy in the Devil’s Bit Beginners Chase.

There was no fluke about it either, with the winner making most of the running. Arabella Boy did join issue between the final two fences and they rose to the last together.

But Slippers Percy showed much the greater resolution on the flat and was four and a half lengths clear at the line.

The stewards inquired into some close riding before and after the last, but that was frivolous at best and an alteration was never a possibility.

Slippers Percy was ridden and is trained by Denis Hogan, who said: “He showed his toughness today, he has not been a horse who would give you everything when you asked for everything.”

Hogan, however, was suspended for two days, one for his use of the whip and the other for careless riding.

Tom Doyle continued his recent good run when driving Betheholygobs to victory in the Handicap Chase. The nine-year-old is trained by John Brassil for long-standing patron of the yard, Castletownroche, Co Cork owner, Eddie Farrell.

“He’s been a terribly unlucky old horse”, reported Brassil. “What can we do only keep going with him?”

Top weight, Burnt Oil Babe, went off favourite to add to her Tramore gains, but was in front two out and that was surely far too early.

It gave the winner a chance to battle back and he answered Doyle’s call to be well on top in the closing stages.

Willie Mullins described the success of Skorcher, in the maiden hurdle, as a “pleasant surprise”, even though he found plenty of support in the market, 14-1 to 8’s.

Skorcher got a dream run up the far rail going to the final flight and Emmet Mullins didn’t have to be hard on him to beat Raz De Maree by half a length.

Trainer Mullins said: “He’s a horse who needs a trip and might go chasing, but I will have a word with the owner first.”

The Michael Cullen trained Belle Brook, fourth at Down Royal previously, gave Davy Russell a turn in the Cashel Mares Maiden Hurdle.

Russell committed her early in the straight and Belle Brook never flinched to beat Sugar Bullet comfortably.

Commented Cullen: “We thought she wants further and does. A novice hurdle over two and a half will be next.”

Martin Burke, who rode his first winner as a professional aboard Quarton at Naas on Sunday, doubled his tally on Mr Eko in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.

The winner edged ahead between the last two flights to beat buck Breeze by a cosy enough half a length.

Mr Eko, like Quarton, is trained by Tim Doyle, who said: “He’s going the right way and is a fine big horse. He should make a smashing chaser next season.”

The layers began the day in style and finished with a flourish when getting another blinding result in the Bumper.

Victory went to 20-1 shot Black Benny, who shot ahead off the home turn to beat the Tom Hogan well-backed newcomer, Flycorn.

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