Sent off 6/4 favourite in the absence of Sicilian Secret, Jim Will Fix It, trained in Hugginstown, Co Kilkenny by Seamus Roche, made all to slam his three rivals in the Irish Stallion Farms Hurdle.
The strapping six-year-old dictated the pace and stretched clear between the last two flights to beat Whats On The Menu by ten lengths, prompting his trainer to explain: “He’ll go out in a field after that and will go chasing next season.
“Paul gave him a super ride. You couldn’t ask for finer. We'll give the horse a break and, if we have a bad end to the summer, there’s a possibility that we might bring him back in for a graded novice hurdle at Tipperary early in October. After that, he’ll go jumping fences.”
Earlier, the Dermot Weld-trained Sublime Talent looked in trouble and ran into traffic problems on the second last turn before arriving, full of running, to sweep past fellow 7/4 joint-favourite on the run-in for an ultimately cosy length and a half success in the opening Connacht Telegraph Maiden Hurdle.
Alpine Eagle, a beaten favourite on his chasing debut at Killarney, was sent off a red-hot ‘jolly’ for the beginners chase and, having travelled well throughout, held off Air Chief by a length to land the spoils in the hands of Andrew Leigh, after narrow leader Blakesbrook unseated Denis Hogan at the second last fence.
Trainer Jessica Harrington was not present, but Frank Berry, representing owner JP McManus, stated: “He got the job done ! He has his own technique, his own way of doing things. But he won and we’ll try to find a ‘novice’ for him somewhere. He likes that ground and will keep going through the summer.”
“That was grand. I thought we were beaten,” declared a relieved Philip Fenton after watching Resolute Bay defy joint top-weight in the Sheridan Electrical Handicap Hurdle, the Robert Jones-ridden gelding scraping home by a couple of short-heads from Schinkel and Lea Lady in a thrilling battle.
Veteran midlands trainer Cecil Ross, in double form at Sligo last week, struck again when Westmeath Bachelor, without a win since landing a hunters chase in Tralee in 2008, landed the Hollymount Nursing Home Handicap Chase.
Ridden by Barry Cash, the ten-year-old jumped soundly and stayed on well to beat An Blascaoid Mor by two and half lengths, to the delight of owner Mick Foster (of Foster & Allen fame), who was present to lead in his winner.
Another midland handler Liam Reilly, from Co Longford, savoured his first success since Gossie Madera triumphed at Listowel in September 2001 when 16/1 shot Oscar Wings, denied a run on the inside early in the final furlong, finished strongly to deny the Willie Mullins-trained favourite Robin Angevin in the bumper.
The daughter of Oscar, a tenth winner for rider Niall Kelly, was described as “a bit hot” by her trainer, who added: “She has to be dropped in and made settle. And that hasn't happened in her last couple of runs. Niall gave her a great ride today.”
Pulled up early at Limerick last time, the Philip Rothwell-trained Beneficial Spirit, enterprisingly ridden by Declan Bates, bounced back in style when romping to an 11 lengths win over Information in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase.
“He’s a grand horse, but has been very hard to train,” explained Rothwell.