Don Cossack puts down early Cheltenham marker

Don Cossack staked an early claim for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham by making a pleasing start to his career over fences at Galway yesterday.

The imposing six-year-old, owned by Gigginstown House Stud, failed to live up to high expectations as a novice hurdler last term, but showed where his future lies with an easy victory in the W.B. Gavin & Co. EBF Beginners Chase

Toon River made it a true test and led to two out, where Andrew Lynch brought Don Cossack to challenge and the Gordon Elliott-trained 10-11 favourite duly pulled away after jumping the last to power home by 20 lengths from Dressedtothenines.

“The (low-lying) sun down the back didn’t help but he was clever and should improve a lot for that. He was only in second gear there,” said Lynch.

Paddy Power gave Don Cossack a quote of 14-1 for the RSA.

Royal Moll backed up a bumper win with victory on her jumping bow in took the Mares Maiden Hurdle.

The Willie Mullins-trained 4-5 favourite, ridden by Paul Townend, jumped ahead at the last to score by a length and a quarter from Catimini.

Townend said: “She did it well in the end as she stays very well. She missed the second-last a bit, but she jumped adequately. She got away with that trip on the ground, but she needs further.”

Townend completed a double when getting up in final stride on Viaduct Joey (7-1) for Terence O’Brien in the John Mulholland Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle.

O’Brien said: “He won this race off 109 two years ago and we were hoping he’d go on to better things but he has had problems with stomach ulcers and hasn’t been enjoying his racing since.

“I think his stomach ulcers are under control now. He’ll continue to mix it between hurdling and chasing, and jumps well.”

Count Salazar (6-1) gamely held the late challenge of Goonyella to gain a deserved success in the Ennis Lifts Handicap Chase.

Eoin Doyle’s eight-year-old had finished second in his previous three starts but returned to winning ways with a length and a quarter call in the hands of 5lb claimer Jody McGarvey.

The Winkler (9-2) gave Doyle a double when holding Like It A Lot by a nose in the NUIG Horse Racing Society (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race under Kevin Sexton.

Gilgamboa (4-1) led on the run-in to make a winning debut in the Corrib Food Products Maiden Hurdle for trainer Enda Bolger.

“He knew his job as all of Enda’s do, they are all well schooled,” said rider Niall Madden after partnering the five-year-old to a three-length verdict over Afterclass. “It wasn’t the strongest of races, but I got a good jump at the last and that sealed it for him. He’ll get further.”

Mireya (6-1) denied Rory O’Moore in the shadow of the post for rider Kate Harrison and her mother owner/trainer Cathy Harrison in the (Q.R.) Race.

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