No dream return for Ruby

THERE was no dream return to racing for Ruby Walsh when his only mount of the afternoon, Salute Him, trailed in fourth of four behind Plan A in the Kerrymaid Hurdle at the opening stage of the Listowel festival yesterday.

A smiling Walsh, however, was more than pleased to be back, after sustaining two fractured vertebrae in his neck in a fall at Killarney on July 12.

“I’m grand”, reported Walsh. “The ground didn’t beat my horse, there was no gallop and he was just too free.”

Plan A, in contrast, wasn’t at all inconvenienced. Paul Carberry allowed him lead at the penultimate flight and the four-year-old scampered clear to easily beat Definite Class.

Trainer, Gordon Elliott, said: “He did it nicely and wasn’t right at Perth the last day. He’s in the Lartigue Hurdle later in the week, but I doubt will run.”

Looking very much to the future the horse to catch the eye the most was Shark Hanlon’s Trabajo in the Charleville Cheese Maiden Hurdle over three miles.

Partnered by Andrew McNamara, the King’s Theatre gelding eased into the lead going to two out to beat Its Ironic by five and a half lengths.

Commented Hanlon: “We delighted with the rain, he is the one horse we’re running this week that wants soft ground.

“He will have one more run and then wait for Christmas, he has the makings of a lovely chaser.”

De Valira, without a win since April, 2007, rewarded the patience of connections with a fine display in the Cheestrings Beginners Chase.

Owned by Glanmire, Co Cork businessman, Donal Mac A’Bhaird and beautifully handled by Paul Townend, De Valira swept up to lead between the final two fences to easily beat Blazing Beacon.

Trainer, James Morrissey, said: “We’ve waited a long time. It was a good performance, I think that was a decent race.

“We will see how he is in the morning before making any plans, that’s the way it is with this horse.”

Jessica Harrington’s Paradis De Thaix landed a touch — in the hands of Mark Bolger — in the Dawn Milk Handicap Chase.

Taken as high as 12-1 in the morning, he was strong on track as well from 11-2 to 7-2. Powered into the lead off the home turn, he stayed on stoutly to beat the frustrating Francis Du Mesnil.

The Oliver Brady-trained One Cool Shabra ran away with the Dawn Omega Milk Hurdle for three-year-olds. Racing in the first two throughout, he landed in front over the fourth last and made the rest.

One Cool Shabra was capably handled by Ger Fox, who comes from Ashbourne, Co Meath. Fox (22) was enjoying his first success on the track as a professional.

He had one previous winner, as an amateur, and has five in the point-to-point fields to his credit.

Knockieran, beaten 12 lengths when runner-up behind Second Glance at Ballinrobe, redeemed the promise of that effort with a clear-cut victory in the Low Low EBF Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

Enterprisingly handled by Declan Bates, the mare forged ahead off the home turn to beat top weight, Jeunopse, with plenty in hand.

Katie Walsh gave Prunella Dobbs’ Ravensbury a terrific drive to take the Kerry Group Bumper.

Ravensbury was driven into the lead early in the straight by a determined Walsh. From the furlong pole it appeared certain that Great Oak would swamp the winner, but it wasn’t to be and Ravensbury was still holding the call at the death.

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