Rebel Fitz off the mark over fences

Last year’s Galway Hurdle winner, Rebel Fitz, opened his account over fences, at the second attempt, when coasting to victory in the Irish Stallion Farms Beginners Chase in Ballinrobe last night.

But rider Barry Geraghty gave punters a fright when easing the 8/13 favourite, clear and in command before the second last, on the run-in and he had only a half-length to spare over Leash Oscar with Letter Of Credit three quarters of a length away third.

Rebel Fitz jumped superbly, as he had done on his fencing bow in Killarney, and, having tracked the leaders, made his move after the third last, quickly sweeping into a clear lead.

Trainer Winters was both relieved and delighted by the performance. “That’s the job for good horses – get them out there and racing. It’s grand for everybody. He’d prefer better ground, but his bit of class got him through.

“He’ll go for a winners’ race in three or four weeks. And we’ll see where we go from there. He might head back to Galway. (for the ‘Plate’).”

Hunting Party, trained by Dessie Hughes and strongly handled from the second last by Mark Enright, got the better of the Patrick Mullins-ridden Perfect Gentleman by a head in the Irish Stallion Farms Hurdle.

The Davy Condon-ridden Muzak registered a popular local success for John Monroe in the Hollymount Nursing Home Handicap Chase, beating El Mondo and surviving a Steward Enquiry.

And the Aidan Howard-trained Hansupfordetroit made all to beat favourite Twin Plan in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase.

The eight-year-old provided Niki O’Shea with his first success in the saddle since scoring on the same horse eight months ago and a welcome boost before he leaves for Australia next Wednesday where he’ll ride for a yard in Adelaide.

“It’s about time he won over hurdles,” commented Charlie Swan after saddling the David Casey-ridden Tangled Web to land the opening Connacht Telegraph Maiden Hurdle at the expense of Phillys Fancy, after favourite Eligible broke a leg, when beaten, between the last two flights and had to be put down.

Successful with Norah Starr on Monday, trainer-rider Denis Hogan was on the mark again when Notimetoserve got the better of favourite Samantha Jones in the Sheridan Electrical Castlebar Handicap Hurdle.

And John Joe Walsh declared, “She’s a good mare, but hated the ground,” after Love On Top, ridden by her owner Ambrose McCurtin, landed the Lydon House Catering Flat Race, continuing the stable’s tremendous form.

McCurtin’s win came at a price, however, as he was suspended for two days for careless riding.

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