Russell had three rides in the famous maroon colours, but they all failed to deliver, including Roi Du Mee in the featured Listed Holden Plant Rentals Chase.
Successful in the contest a year ago, Roi Du Mee set out to make all of the running, but Willie Mullins’ Marito had him in his sights throughout.
Paul Townend was aboard Marito and he eased his charge up to challenge the leader jumping the second last.
Soon in front, Mullins’ charge winged the final fence and stretched away on the flat to score with plenty in hand.
Said Mullins: “That was a lovely tactical ride by Paul, the horse had the gears in a slow run race.
“He is hard to place and will mix it between fences and hurdles. He was bought as a hurdler, rather than a chaser.”
It is hard, however, to keep a good man down and Russell ended on the right note when guiding the Robert Tyner-trained Thats The Dream to take the Tom Carroll Memorial Handicap Chase, returning to the warmest reception of the afternoon.
Russell powered Thats The Dream into the lead over two out and the six-year-old was soon clear.
“I’m delighted for Davy, he rode a lot of winners of me in his youth”, said Tyner. “He’s a brilliant jockey and will bounce back from this setback.”
Edward O’Grady’s Flaming Dawn, impressive when winning his bumper on this track, followed up with a smooth victory in the Waterford And Tramore Supporters’ Club Maiden Hurdle.
Superbly handled by Paul Townend, initiating a double, this massive gelding, he stands 17 hands, was galloping all over his rivals a fair way out.
Townend allowed him to lead over the second last and Flaming Dawn was soon in complete control.
Said O’Grady: “He’s a horse who likes hills and might climb another hill (Cheltenham).
“I think he’s quite nice and anything over hurdles will be a bonus, he is a chaser in the making. We will find a winners’ of one now.”
Adrian Maguire’s Davinia’s Tip battled resolutely through the terrible ground to take the opening David Flynn Construction Maiden Hurdle.
Declan Queally soon had her striding along in front and the mare found plenty for pressure to resist the persistent challenge of the favourite, Enjoy Responsibly.
“We will give her a nice break now, she came home drunk”, reported Maguire. “Dec gave her a super ride.”
Bookmakers were entitled to breath a deep sigh of relief, following the Curran South East Cleaners Handicap Hurdle.
Mini Vic was the well backed favourite, 9-2 to 3-1, and looked sure to score coming away from the final flight.
But then the late burst of 14-1 shot Mini Vic, trained by Liz Doyle, provided the layers with an unexpected early New Year’s gift. The winner, ridden by Andrew Ring, paid nearly 25-1 on the tote.
Michael Darcy, who rode Volkis O’Blue in this race, was found guilty of causing two false starts and suspended for three days. He was also cautioned concerning his conduct in the stewards’ room.
Andrew Lynch missed his rides at Tramore, feeling unwell, and missed a winner as well in the shape of Henry de Bromhead’s Miller Of Glanmire in the Knockenduff Stud Beginners Chase.
Andrew McNamara proved a more than able substitute, producing Miller Of Glanmire to lead two out in what was a moderate heat.
Enda Bolger’s Federici followed up his success at Limerick over Christmas with an easy win in the Ani-Pets Veterinary Clinic Novice Handicap Hurdle.
The top weight travelled nicely, led going to the second last and was soon clear of his only real pursuer, Pleased As Punch.