Stamina gains the day for Vinnie

Our Vinnie displayed his customary stamina and toughness to land the Grade 3 Liberty Insurance Novice Hurdle narrowly in Limerick yesterday.

Ridden by Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden, the five-year-old made the running in the gruelling three-mile contest and held a narrow advantage over odds-on favourite Pride Of the Parish jumping the last.

Our Vinnie pecked on landing, handing the initiative to the Paul Townend-ridden 8/15 shot. But Madden rallied his mount and got him up in the last stride to pip his rival by a short-head.

Our Vinnie, 14/1 (from 20) with Stan James for Cheltenham’s Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle, initiated a 62/1 double for Charles Byrnes, who was in Leopardstown to supervise the abortive return to action of Weapons Amnesty, completed when 20/1 shot Dazzlers Day proved too strong for recent Thurles winner Missie Ella in the Ryans Cleaning Handicap Hurdle. Byrnes’ charge was a third winner at the meeting for jockey Rob Jones.

Narrowly denied on Pride Of the Parish in the feature, Paul Townend had completed a double in the opening two races on odds-on favourites Dogora and Castlerock Rose.

In the absence of Pacelli Road, Dogora went off 1/2 to make a successful Irish debut for Willie Mullins in the opening Welcome To Ladies Day 3-Y-0 Maiden Hurdle and duly obliged, with the minimum of fuss.

Always prominent, the French-bred grey was in command turning for home and stayed on to win, comfortably, by almost five lengths from Spot The Pro.

The former champion had to work a lot harder to force Castlerock Rose past flattering favourite Kashline on the run-in to win the Project Architects & Aeon Consultants Maiden Hurdle by a length.

The mare provided trainer Dan Rohan, from Lisgoold, County Cork, with his first racecourse success.

Townend came off second best on the Willie Mullins-trained favourite Turban in the beginners chase, the 10/11 shot failing to mount a serious challenge to all-the-way winner Beeverstown, ridden for Jim Culloty by Robbie McNamara.

Doneraile-based owner-trainer-breeder Pat Cronin saddled newcomer Prideofthecastle (Damian Murphy) to win the bumper.

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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