The Robbie Hennessy trained ten-year-old raced prominently and jumped with his usual exuberance, before battling tenaciously to triumph by three-quarters of a length, to the delight of his trainer, who confirmed: “Andrew (Lynch) wanted him to go to the north, but I felt this was the race for him. These races are great for horses like him, old boys that are in no man’s land – there should be more of them. This was a very competitive race, for great prize-money.”
And, he added: “Rubi is living outside twenty-four hours a day and the fresh air is agreeing with him. He was bursting blood vessels last year. He’s half-way back to what he was, I suppose. He’s in the Aintree Grand National, but I’ll enter him for the Topham – I think it might suit him.
Cheltenham hero Ruby Walsh delighted his fans in a big St.Patrick’s Day crowd by recording a 7/1 double on I Shot The Sheriff and Davinia’s Tip.
Successful earlier with Delvin Road in Down Royal, Tony Martin completed an across-the-card double and provided Walsh with the first of his winners when I Shot The Sheriff justified even-money favouritism in the Micheal O Murchadha Memorial Rated Hurdle, coming from off the pace before forging clear on the long run-in to beat front-runner Velocity Boy by seven lengths.
Delvin Road, Martin’s second winner for owner Malcolm Denmark, was ridden by Ruby Walsh, who explained: “The conditions of the race really suited and he did it well. I’d say the drop of rain helped him. To ride him he feels like a horse for winter ground. I don’t know where he’ll go – I’m sure Tony has something in mind.”
Walsh gave the Adrian Maguire-trained mare Davina’s Tip an excellent front-running ride to foil Hop In in the Christy Lynch Of The Order Pf Malta Memorial Novice Handicap Chase.
Often a free-going front-runner, Davinia’s Tip was settled in from by Walsh, dictated the pace and, when pressed by the runner-up between the last two fences, kept finding enough to score by four lengths. Adrian Maguire who trains the daughter of Presenting for Mrs Toni Tipper, explained: “She was entitled to go close if she put her best foot forward, and she did. She got a super ride from Ruby. She’s not a superstar but this type of track suits her.”
The Tom Taaffe-trained I Knew Well, runner-up in his last four starts, belatedly opened his account when making all under Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden to win the Join The Wexford Racecourse Supporters Club Today Maiden Hurdle at the expense of Motown Bob and Flaviana.
“I’ve waited for this,” stated a relieved Taaffe. “He did what you’d expect him to do. He got a lovely ride – Niall kept it simple, got him relaxed in front and let him do things his own way. We’ll probably look for a handicap for him before he goes out to grass.”
Winner of his maiden at Clonmel last time, Westerner Point, trained by Eoghan O’Grady for the eight-member Thade Quill Syndicate from Mallow, followed-up under Philip Enright in the St. Patrick’s Day No ice Handicap Hurdle.
And, after a great week at Cheltenham and Navan for his son Paul, Tim Townend saddled Kala Brandy to win the mares bumper, Sonny Carey’s mount proving too strong for Tigroney ad favourite Ten Times Better.
“She’s not a bad mare but had her problems,” said Townend. “She’ll go hurdling now, bit it’ll depend on the ground. She’ll make a nice broodmare.”