Alan Crowe should have ridden the Christy Roche trained and J P McManus owned seven-year-old, but stood himself down, after taking a heavy fall from Speckled Wood at Clonmel last Thursday.
“Alan thought he would be okay, but was very sore”, reported McManus’ racing manager, Frank Berry.
Dalton partnered Sword Fish with real confidence and the partnership could be mapped as the most likely winners a fair way from home. He let out just an inch of rein heading to the second last and the contest was effectively over, as Sword Fish eased away to score in a canter.
“I feel sorry for Alan”, said Dalton. “It was great to get the ride, the horse travelled and jumped great.”
Dalton, who is from New Ross, Co Wexford, of course, won the Irish Grand National aboard Dot Love’s Liberty Counsel at Fairyhouse last Easter.
“That was a fine ride by Ben”, said Berry. “It is a lovely race to win, we have nothing in mind, today was the plan. The ground was too quick for him the last day at Limerick, he loved the ground and the trip here.”
Kevin Sexton, who weighed in 1.8lbs over his allotted weight on Carry Each Other, was suspended for two days.
Charlie Swan’s The Game Changer was the punters choice in the Paddy Power Betting Shops Maiden Hurdle and he duly justified the confidence.
Davy Russell took him into the lead four out and the main danger was essentially removed when the challenging Katie T got it wrong at the final flight.
Said Swan: “He won, but not that impressively. We will go low key with him and find a winners’ of one somewhere. He will make a nice novice chaser down the road.”
Russell completed a double when Eoin Griffin’s Azorian, like The Game Changer, carrying the colours of Gigginstown House Stud, toyed with the opposition on his way to landing the Paddy Power Your Local Betting Shop INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle.
This impressive individual made all of the running and, even though showing a tendency to go left at some of the obstacles, strode home 21 lengths to the good.
“I’d have been disappointed had he got beaten”, admitted Griffin, who has been waiting for some time to get his hands on another decent horse.
“I don’t know why he went left, he has never done that at home. He will stay at two and a half miles and might even move up in trip.”
Henry de Bromhead’s Sizing Rio produced a brilliant exhibition of jumping and front running to destroy his rivals in the Grade 3 Paddy Power We Pay Up To €1m On Winning Bets EBF Novice Chase.
Partnered by Andrew Lynch, the imposing five-year-old bounded clear up the straight to beat Clar Na Mionn by ten lengths.
Said de Bromhead: “I’m glad to see him go and do that, I always hoped he would make a real nice chaser.
“I’m not sure what will be next. He could go for the Drinmore (Fairyhouse), but doesn’t take a whole lot of racing and might wait for Christmas.”
de Bromhead had news of his stable star, Sizing Europe, who was clearly below par when a remote second behind Roi Du Mee in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on Saturday.
Said de Bromhead: “He was struggling to go with them at one stage, which was bizarre for a two-mile horse.
“He ate up and is fine, but generally I was disappointed. He won’t run over three miles again.”
Paul Fahey, absent in America, missed seeing his well backed Lots Of Memories take the Grade 3 Paddy Power Collect Winning Bets In Any Shop EBF Novice Hurdle.
Shane Butler allowed him stride on with a circuit to cover and, despite weaving about a fair bit in the straight, was far too talented for this opposition.
Commented Butler: “He’s very, very good and anything he does over hurdles will be a bonus. He’s a chaser in the making.”
The Pat O’Connor trained Sullane Chief probably faces a fair old hike in the weights, after winning the Paddy Power Shops-Your Best Bet For National Hunt Action Handicap Hurdle by 12 lengths.
Ridden by Conor Walsh, Sullane Chief guessed at the second last, but it made no difference, as he strode clear.
“He had a good run at Gowran Park the last day, but is a hard horse to keep right”, said O’Connor.
Declan Lavery, who recently reverted to amateur status, guided Mags Mullins’ Princess Leya to win the Bumper in the proverbial stroll, by 18 lengths.