Russell rode 104 winners last season when taking the title for the first time and he sent Toner d’Oudairies, who was sent off the 5-4 favourite, to the front before the second last fence. The six year old, who was dropping in distance, went on to land the two mile one furlong contest by five lengths from Dul Ar An Ol.
Gordon Elliott, who trains the winner for Gigginstown House Stud, said: “It’s been a long time since this horse has won a race and now that he has done so we’ll keep him on the go in novice races over the summer.”
Wedding Present trounced his rivals in the two mile Fairyhouse Maiden Hurdle, winning by 11 lengths under Adrian Heskin, much to the delight of trainer Kilworth Co Cork-based Sean O’Brien who trains the seven year old for his wife, Caroline.
“We got him as a wedding present from my uncle Dick four years ago and he’s now won a point to point, a bumper and a hurdle race. We might run him in a three mile hurdle, at Punchestown next week but his future will be over fences. I think he’ll make a lovely staying chaser,” said O’Brien.
Another Cork trainer to strike was Doneraile handler John Joe Walsh whose Push The Button took a dramatic Family Day 14th July Handicap Hurdle.
Mac Tigue looked set for victory when falling at the final flight and his exit left 6-1 shot Rafi De Triana in front. However, he stopped to almost a walk and Push The Button stayed on late, under Brian O’Connell, for a one length win.
Walsh said: “We have Push The Button for a few months and that was his first run for us. He wouldn’t want the ground much quicker and he’ll probably appreciate going a bit further that two miles.”
O’Connell went on to complete a double when 28-1 shot Lord Alfie, trained by Liz Doyle, held 11-2 favourite, Easy Vic, by a head in the two mile five furlong Fairyhouse On Facebook Handicap Chase. Lord Alfie came from off the pace to lead before the last and held Easy Vic’s late effort.
Doyle said: “Lord Alfie got a leg injury after winning a point to point three years ago and since returning this season he has struggled on testing ground. Conditions today suited him and we’ll keep him on the go over the summer.”
Following Mart Lane’s four length win under Danny Mullins in the two mile five furlong Beginners Chase, ‘Shark’ Hanlon, who trains the winner for Barry Connell, said: “He jumped a lot better today than last time. He’s not that big and appreciated the better ground. Western Leader is his brother, so the family has done well for us.”
Followmeuptocarlow, owned and trained by Tom Donohue, ran out a two and a quarter length winner of the three mile www.fairyhouse.ie Handicap Hurdle under 7lb claiming amateur Richie Deegan who had won on the ten year old at Punchestown in November.
Donohue said: “We knew he’d get the trip and he was in brilliant form. I’m delighted and that will pay a few bills. We’re thinking of sending him chasing.”