Rebel Fitz is Cork hero

Galway Hurdle hero Rebel Fitz returned to a tremendous reception, after coasting to victory in the J P McManus Hurdle at Cork yesterday.

Ballyadam Brook and Fosters Cross took them along at a strong gallop and the winner had plenty to do entering the final mile.

But he’s all class and Davy Russell sat unperturbed and waited his time to strike. Rebel Fitz closed down the trail-blazers in effortless fashion and jumped to the front at the third last.

Fosters Cross kept batting away, but the winner had any amount in hand and crossed the line an unflattering four and a half lengths to the good.

Trainer, Michael Winters, reported: “I’m delighted with him. He pulled off a shoe earlier in the week, but Davy said he was electric.

“For the moment he will stay hurdling and go for a Grade 2 at Tipperary in the middle of October.

“As long as he keeps doing it over hurdles then he will stay at that game, the prize money is great in Ireland.

“But if we meet one or two top-class horses along the way, who put us in our place, then we’ll have a rethink.”

Russell was hugely impressed: “Michael was a bit worried Galway was going to come a bit close to his previous race at Tipperary and, if anything, he was even better today, he just felt stronger.”

Russell completed a double when guiding Henry de Bromhead’s Too Scoops to a length and a half defeat of Champagne Agent in the Follow Cork Racecourse On Facebook Maiden Hurdle.

The pair were in the air together over the final flight, but Russell had matters in hand and only had to push out his charge to score snugly.

Said de Bromhead: “Davy was confident, to say the least, he had me nervous after the last.

“It was his first time over two and a half and looked to get it well. He will now go novice hurdling, but is ultimately a chaser.”

Top bumper horse, Pique Sous, was a costly failure in the Family Day Out Maiden Hurdle.

His jumping was moderate and he failed to pick up as Barry Geraghty produced eventual winner, Ted Dolly, to surge into the lead between the last two flights.

“Finally, that was great”, exclaimed winning trainer, Eddie Hales. “I haven’t a clue where he will go next, but it will be somewhere flat and easy.”

Geraghty was back in the winner’s enclosure when partnering Pageboy to a very impressive success in the Hurdle.

He was having his first outing since scoring at Tipperary in April, but David Wachman had him in good shape.

Geraghty asked Pageboy to lead going to two out and he lengthened clear to beat the hard-pulling White Feathers by eight and a half lengths.

Commented Geraghty: “He’s a nice hardy horse. He was well prepared and knew his job for one only having his third run (over hurdles).”

The whole complexion of the Cork Handicap Hurdle changed at the second last. Craigs Dream held a huge lead throughout and, though visibly tiring, was still all of eight lengths in front when crashing at the obstacle.

Then Two in A Row was hampered and his rider, Tony Kelly, was unseated well after the flight.

The drama was far from over, however, as Face Facts came from way off the pace to nail Mark Me Up in the dying strides. Face Facts was a third of the afternoon for Geraghty.

Mountain Lough won the Munster Handicap Hurdle and deservedly kept the contest, following a stewards’ inquiry.

He hung a little to his left close home, but was always holding both Luimneach and Clara More and the result wasn’t affected.

Ridden by Andrew McNamara, Mountain Lough is trained locally by Louis Archdeacon.

Said Archdeacon: “I’ve mainly point-to-pointers and have just three for the track. He was very well handicapped over hurdles and should be capable of winning again.”

Jimmy Mangan’s well-backed Truckin’ All Night unseated Robbie McNamara at the start of the Bumper, but that didn’t stop him doing the business.

He raced near the front, but appeared tapped for toe early in the straight, before rallying to score decisively in the end.

Joked McNamara: “He ducked from a puddle and I fell off him like a sack of spuds.” The six-year-old is owned by the two-member Conna Enclosure Syndicate and, if not sold, will now go over hurdles.

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