The nine-year-old, owned by Tom Topping (a neighbour of the winning trainer) and having his first run for Crawford, having previously been trained by Roy Wilson, came from off the pace to beat Make a Track readily by seven lengths in the hands of Robbie Power, as favourite Bog Warrior dropped away tamely, having made the running, to finish a well-beaten fourth with Seabass last.
Crawford, who has made a series of successful raids on Britain in recent weeks, admitted: “He has been a more interested at home in the last few weeks and needed a confidence boost. We considered going to Kelso with him, but this was on our doorstep. I wasn’t expecting him to win, but to run well. We might try to find another similar race, with a small, field.”
Henry de Bromhead enjoyed a very successful St.Patrick’s Day, competing a double with Never Complain and Riviera Sun at Down Royal, in addition to scoring with An Dearthair Og at Wexford.
Making his fencing debut, Never Complain, ridden by Andrew McNamara, got the better of favourite Mr.Cosmopolitan and Vasco Du Mee by a half-length and the same.
David Roche gave even-money favourite Riviera Sun, fourth to Shaneshill on his debut at Naas, a confident tide to complete the de Bromhead double in the bumper, forging clear to triumph by five and a half lengths. The five-year-old Milan gelding is now likely to head for the Sales.
Colm Murphy was another trainer on the mark at both meetings, the Gigginstown-owned Express Du Berlais ridden by Brian Cawley proving best in the three-mile Bet With The Tote Handicap Hurdle.
Odds-on favourite James, ridden by William Thompson, travelled like the likely winner for most of the Daily Mirror Hunters Chase but, when involved in a battle with Mtada Supreme strongly ridden by Noel McParlan, he went down by a head. The winner is trained near Caragh, County Kildare by Peter Maher.
The Smith brothers, trainer Matthew and jockey Kevin, from Kilmessan, County Meath, struck with morning gamble Green Energy in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap, the 8/1 shot getting the better of Tillargon to give the winning rider his third success in the saddle.
And, after a succession of creditable placed efforts, Black Spot On, trained in County Armagh by John Woods, earned an overdue and deserved win in the opening Daily Mirror Maiden Hurdle, the Mattie Bowe-ridden 6/4 favourite having to dig deep to get the better of the Tulsa Jack and Paul Carberry.
* 7lb. claimer Simon Torrens was banned for seven days under Rule 212(a) for not making every effort to attain the best possible finishing position on Apisata, which finished fifth to Black Spot On in the opening maiden hurdle.