The eight-year-old, whose most notable win came in last year’s Galway Plate, had to dig deep under Emmet Mullins to hold Annie Other and Definite Class by a couple of necks.
The winning rider admitted: “The Galway Hurdle was a complete write-off and two miles and three today was short enough for her. She wasn’t travelling early in today’s race, but she jumped great, which was a big help. She got a great leap at the second last, stuck her head out and battled to the line.”
The Mullins double was completed, in the colours of Mrs Susannah Ricci, when Sicilian Secret opened his account over fences — at the fourth attempt — in the Midlands Breeders Supporting Kilbeggan Beginners Chase.
Ridden by David Casey (picked up a one-day careless riding ban), the Flemensfirth gelding mastered front-running Mickelson at the final fence before holding Total Excitement by a length, prompting his rider to explain: “He loves it quick so the good ground was a big help. He jumped better on it and kept going, although he idled from the last.”
Mullins was denied a treble when course and distance winner Shakervilz, ridden by Patrick, was beaten a half-length by the Dot Love-trained longshot Let The Show Begin in the Angus Beef Ireland Hurdle.
The 25/1 shot, better known for his exploits in cross-country chases, was capably handled by 7lb. claimer Harley Dunne. Ciaran Murphy, assistant to the winning trainer, commented: “That was a bonus. He jumps and stays and is a cross-country horse. He’s been second in a La Touche at Punchestown and Cheltenham is the plan with him.”
Local trainer Love rounded off a memorable night when Liberty Counsel, ridden confidently by Mark Walsh, got the better of Raz De Maree in the Dunbia Handicap Chase to complete a 233/1 double for the yard.
Ciaran Murphy said: “We were going to have a crack at the Kerry National but came here instead for the owners, who are locals. It’d be nice to think she might be an Irish National mare next spring.”
Another 7lb. claimer seen to good effect was Shane Butler, who partnered the Paul Flynn-trained Thewesthowaya to victory over gallant top-weight Talab in the Moate Handicap Hurdle.
Amateur rider Tom O’Brien, son of trainer Val, savoured his first success in the saddle on board the Michael Hourigan-trained What’s Happening in the bumper. The winner will now go hurdling in Listowel.