Minor pre-Cheltenham boost for Murphy

COLM MURPHY got a little boost, on the lead-in to Big Zeb’s challenge for next week’s Champion Chase at Cheltenham, when Dangan Daylight landed the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Maiden Hurdle at Clonmel yesterday.

Partnered by Robert Power, the daughter of Old Vic swept ahead at the final flight to score going away from Carrigeen Kariega.

Said Murphy: “She won a point-to-point for Tom Lombard. I’m delighted with her and she will probably go for a little mares’ novice hurdle now. Anything over hurdles is a bonus, however, she will make a nice chaser.”

Beef To The Heels, second four times in-a-row previously, went off the odds-on favourite. He trailed in a well beaten fifth and certainly now looks one to avoid in the future.

“That was a bit of luck”, remarked Dessie Hughes, after his Ross Na Righ had taken the Slievenamon Beginners Chase.

Ross Na Righ and De Dodger rose in unison at the final fence, but the latter unseated his rider and it was easy for the winner after that.

Continuing Hughes said: “He is not good enough to take on novices, so we will see what mark he gets from the handicapper.”

Pat Hughes’ Caduceus, having a first outing since Wexford in April, easily won the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase in the hands of Tim Carroll.

He led heading to the second last and was soon in control to beat Code Of The West by four and a half lengths.

“He was cruising when bursting at Wexford”, said Hughes, “He never burst before that and has never burst since. I quietly fancied the horse, but didn’t back him.”

Knockmehill Lady, trained at Johnstown, Co Kilkenny, by Michelle Gannon followed up her success at Fairyhouse last month with a game effort in the Carrick-On-Suir Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

Ridden by in-form Rob Jones, she kept finding for her pilot to hold Pretty Happy by a neck.

Reported Ms Gannon: “That was great, she is small but tough. We will see what the handicapper does with her now.”

Philip Fenton’s Five Point Plan went off a strong favourite for the Bumper and made no mistake.

Confidently handled by Kevin Power, he eased past front-running An Dearthair in the straight to score with a fair bit in reserve.

“On his run at Leopardstown (fourth) you’d have to fancy him”, commented Fenton. “He won’t be going on his holidays, I’d say he will handle better ground.”

John Kiely’s Saint Gervais was best for money in the Lisronagh Maiden Hurdle, but went under to chief market rival, Primroseandblue.

Saint Gervais looked the likely winner when edging ahead between the last two flights, but Patrick Mullins timed his challenge to perfection and Primroseandblue arrived late to grab the initiative in the dying strides.

Co Clare trainer, Michael McDonagh, enjoyed a welcome turn when Letterlee Star took the Comeragh Handicap Hurdle.

Second behind Betterthanalright at Thurles, she redeemed the promise of that effort, nailing the flattering Dr Proctor close home in the hands of Paul Townend.

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