Walsh on song with Sligo double

RUBY WALSH took the riding honours on a successful Student Raceday in Sligo yesterday, completing a double on favourites Traffic Article and Give Us A Hand.

Traffic Article, under an astute ride, made virtually all to justify odds-on favouritism in the Martin Reilly Hyundai i40 Chase, beating Kakagh by a half-length, with Vital Plot third.

The seven-year-old, owned by Pat Mackin from Banbridge, Co Down, was recording his second win over fences for Gordon Elliott who explained: “Ruby said he hated it being in front. But it was a nice pot. And it was well worth bringing him here.

“He stays very well and could be a horse for the four-miler in Cheltenham (the National Hunt Chase). So we’ll bring him there, for a ‘novice’ at the October meeting, to give experience of the place.”

In contrast, the John Berry-trained Give Us A Hand needed plenty of stoking from the former champion before forging clear between the last two fences to land the Frank Beirne Memorial Beginners Chase, beating Galloping Gander by 15 lengths.

James Lambe, whose Hunting Tower won under Chris Hayes at Newcastle earlier, completed a fine across-the-card double when well-backed City Of Doral (7/1 to 5/1) coasted home an impressive, 12 lengths winner of the Foley’s Bar & Off Licence Handicap Chase.

Settled at the back of the field, City Of Doral crept into contention under Eddie O’Connell on the final circuit and quickly asserted when asked to challenge approaching the final fence.

Andrew McNamara admitted: “Her jumping won it for her, particularly her jump at the last,” following Our Victoria’s half-length win over gambled-on favourite Stephanie Kate (9/4 to 6.4) in the opening Strandhill Mares Beginners Chase.

Out of luck with Stephanie Kate, Charlie Swan enjoyed compensation when Meister Eckhart made an impressive debut in the bumper, the Flemensfirth gelding powering clear under Nina Carberry to slam fellow joint-favourite Fire Belt by 13 lengths.

Owner Mick Foster, of Foster & Allen fame, was present to lead in ten-year-old Westmeath Bachelor after his gutsy win under Barry Cash in the Cleveragh Road Handicap Chase.

The Cecil Ross-trained gelding was helped by a serious blunder by longtime leader Second Glance, which had made most of the running until blundering and being headed by the winner at the second last.

The McConville family from Portadown struck in the Sligo IT Raceday Beginners Chase when Leggy Laf proved an emphatic winner from Yachvili. Leggy Lad is trained by Stephen McConville and provided his son Michael (22), who also owns the gelding, with his first racecourse success in the saddle.”

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