McBratney trains in Co Down and was quite entitled to quip: “that has made the journey worthwhile.”
Favourite, Carrigeen Lonicera, was on the pace throughout, but her jumping often lacked fluency and she had no more to give once Walsh produced the winner to lead between the final two flights.
Continuing McBratney said: “She had no luck in running at Down Royal last time and will now head for the final of this series at Fairyhouse.”
Walsh was on the mark again when The Paparrazi Kid, second four times in-a-row, outclassed modest opposition in the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle.
He jumped and travelled beautifully through the contest, easing to the front going to the second last to score with plenty in hand.
“I’m glad he’s got a win, after hitting the crossbar”, reported trainer, Willie Mullins. “He will now go for a winners’ of one and then we will look at the Fairyhouse and Punchestown festivals.”
Mullins completed a double later in the day when Immediate Response, his son Patrick did the driving, made a fine start over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Beginners Chase.
This was a fifth outing for the trainer and a fourth success, after joining the Carlow handler, following an absence of some two years and four months.
He jumped for fun in front and clearly had the measure of Stony Grey Soil when that one departed at the last.
“He will head for a winners’ of one somewhere,” said Mullins senior.
Eric McNamara’s Ponmeword, most unlucky when slipping up in a chase at Tramore previously, made no mistake in the Sporting Limerick Handicap Hurdle.
Ridden with patience by Rob Jones, he gradually worked into the race. Jones allowed him lead going to two out and Ponmeword powered away to score by five lengths.
Said McNamara: “He was fit and well and obviously goes on the ground. He seems to have improved over the last few months, for whatever reason.”
Sinead O’Sullivan, who trains at Clonakilty, Co Cork, had her second success on the track when All The Way Home easily landed the www.limerickraces.ie Handicap Hurdle.
Partnered by Paul Townend, the winner coasted clear in the straight to beat Supreme Bob by two and a quarter lengths.
Paul Moloney represented Ms O’Sullivan and reported: “She was unlucky at Tramore the last day, she should have won.”
Jack Doyle was due to travel from England to ride Zekarya for his father, Pat, in the Greenmount Beginners Chase, but failed to meet the engagement, after being stranded at Bristol Airport for four hours on Tuesday night.
Derek O’Connor stepped in and duly did the business, with the grey strolling ahead off the home turn.
Commented Doyle senior: “I love winners, but didn’t get as much pleasure out of that as I’d have liked.
“But I was delighted to have Derek, we have had a long association, which continues to go well.”
Barry Connell, who gave €375,000 for Cork winner, Golantilla, will have taken comfort from the result of the Bumper.
The remote third at Cork was Nouveau Moulin and he swept through in the straight for Jonathan Burke to beat Young Ambition by a length and a half.