The Kalanisi mare, which also carries the colours of her trainer, justified 5/2 favouritism in emphatic style, proving too strong for Kris Kindle and For Gortnatona.
Tim Townend commented: “It was grand to have Paul back to ride her. We had Ruby on stand-by, just in case – if you can’t have the best, you should have the second best!”
He added: “She chipped a bone in her knee when she was placed here (in December 2013) and was off for a year. But she’s a grand mare, from the family of Oscar Whiskey.
“I always thought she had speed, but Paul says all she does is stay.
“She needs an ease in the ground and will probably go out in a field now. We might look for black type over hurdles, but she’s really a three-mile chaser.”
In the frame in both point-to-point runs, Full Cry made a successful racecourse debut when landing the Clonacody Maiden Hurdle for Henry de Bromhead, Andrew Lynch and the Garristown Aintree Syndicate, after Clounts Melody a close second, took a horrible fall with Niall Madden at the second last.
“He jumped a bit big, but came from point-to-points, on the recommendation of Ger Hourigan,” explained de Bromhead. “He looked to do it comfortably. The lads have been a lucky syndicate and are always looking for a horse to bring to Aintree – maybe this fellow will fit the bill.
“He’s only five and they should have plenty of fun with him.”
Sea’s Aria ,formerly trained for the Tsui family by John Oxx, made a winning start over hurdles for trainer/rider Denis Hogan when powering to a convincing win in the St. Patrick’s Well Maiden Hurdle, beating My Matador (blundered at the second last) by six lengths.
“He was an average jumper initially, not a natural, but jumped well in a schooling hurdle in Tipperary last week,” explained Hogan. “He’s a stayer on the flat and will mix it for the summer.
“It’s great for the syndicate – both Luke’s Benefit and Missie Ella were retired this year and this fellow was bought as a replacement.”
John Joe Walsh continues to send out a steady stream of winners and saddled Bridies Boy, to win the three-mile Summer BBQ At Clonmel Races Handicap Hurdle, making virtually all under Brian O’Connell before holding the late challenge of Dante Anna by a neck to give owner-breeder James O’Callaghan, like Walsh, from Doneraile, his first success.
Walsh said: “He’s improved with every run and stays at it well. If the ground dries, he’ll go out to grass and come back over fences in the autumn. He should make a grand staying chaser.”
Trainer Lar Byrne described Key Account as “not getting any younger, but a great servant” after the tough seven-year-old made virtually all to capture the Girls Night Out Handicap Hurdle under Brian Hayes, adding: “He’s maturing with age and might get another handicap hurdle. He’ll jump a fence after that.”
The concession of 26lb. to Damut proved too much for top-weight and favourite Lucky Pat in the Nire Valley Handicap Hurdle, as the David Casey-ridden 11/1 shot provided Bandon-based trainer Joe Dullea with his first success under rules.
“He shows plenty of pace at home and will run through the summer, once the ground isn’t too had,” said Dullea while Casey explained: “I rode winners for that man (owner Eamonn Cogan) eighteen years ago,” reference to his two wins on the Willie Mullins-trained Toureen Gale back in 1997.