Ground the key as Wood Breizh sheds maiden tag

Wood Breizh, who had struggled over the winter on bad ground, ran away with the Average Pick 6 Dividend Maiden Hurdle for in-form Paul Townend at Tramore last evening.

“The ground is the key to him”, reported Townend and that was surely utterly accurate, on the basis of this display.

The grey travelled beautifully near the front throughout, jumped into the lead at the penultimate flight and sprinted clear to beat Day Day by seven and a half lengths. Continuing Townend said: “He is getting his jumping together. He was jumping like a chaser, today he was more of a hurdler. I was surprised at how he quickened going to the second last and again to the last.”

The father and son combination of John (trainer) and Josh (jockey) Halley took the Live The Dream With Tote Maiden Hurdle with Triumphant.

The ex-Ballydoyle inmate was none too clever over two out, but picked up in a flash and was soon stretching clear. Commented John, who doubles as a vet to Coolmore Stud: “It’s nice to have a winner, the change in ground made a big difference to him.” The favourite, Edward O’Grady’s Tobar Na Gaoise, fell at the second.

Eoin Doyle’s Roman Numeral went off a well backed favourite for the Average Jackpot Dividend Handicap Hurdle and duly obliged.

Given a fine drive by Michael Butler, he battled on strongly from the last to beat Foolish Notions, whose rider put up 2lbs overweight, by a neck.

“He’s been a bit disappointing, but we got a job done on his wind”, said Doyle. “He’s in again at Cork over the weekend and will probably take his chance.”

The fifth horse home, Boherna Lady, was subsequently disqualified for failing to weigh in. His rider, Kevin Darcy, was severely cautioned.

Butler completed a double aboard Preswell Lad, trained by his father, also Michael, in the Live The Dream With Tote Handicap Chase.

This shaped like an open contest, but the market got it right with the winner, who went off second favourite, beating the market leader, Lord Alfie.

The pair had it between them from a fair way out, but the 11lbs Preswell Lad was getting from his rival proved decisive and he was always getting the best of the battle over the last two fences.

Francis Flood’s Try It Sometime justified favouritism with a game display in the Live The Dream With Tote Handicap Hurdle.

Partnered by Andrew McNamara, he was always on the pace, finding plenty in the closing stages to easily beat Udo’s Choice.

“It’s great to have a winner”, said Fran Flood, representing his father. “He comes from a good family, going back, and when we bought the horse at the sales expected him to be better than he is.”

The Sean O’Brien-trained Cloudy Rock, so disappointing when well fancied at Thurles in January, showed her true colours with a very impressive all the way success in the Bumper, in the hands of Colman Sweeney.

Explaining Thurles, O’Brien said: “She was lame behind, I had to back off and leave her alone for three or four weeks.

“She is a hell of a good mare. That’s it for the season, she will come back over hurdles.”

Aaron Walsh, who rode fourth placed My Betty, was found guilty of careless riding and suspended for seven days.

Bookmakers, in need of a result, got one in the Tote Trifecta Rollover Hunters Chase, with victory going to 16-1 shot, Aces And Kings, who streaked clear in the straight.

Aces And Kings was a chance ride for Jamie Codd, replacing Jason McKeown, who was injured at a point-to-point on Sunday.

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