The combination, denied with hot-pot Listen Dear in the opener, struck when Childrens List, the 6/5 favourite, added to his bumper and maiden hurdle successes in Tramore by capturing the Toals Bookmakers Rated Hurdle.
In front before the second last, the Susannah Ricci-owned five-year-old had to dig deep on the long and demanding run-in to keep Coldstonesober at bay by two and a half lengths, prompting Patrick Mullins, representing his father, to explain: “This horse would be better going the other way. But he’s paying his way and Paul was very good on him.”
Townend made use of Westerner’s Lady proven stamina in the Toals Bookmakers Maiden Hurdle, sending the mare to the front early on the final circuit.
But she had to battle gamely in the closing stages to hold the persistent challenge of the consistent but luckless Ultimate Horseman by a half-length, the pair finishing thirty-three lengths clear of the third.
Listen Dear, a runaway winner of her bumper on this track before being beaten by Captain Barbossa in Cork, was sent off a red-hot 1/3 favourite for the opening Lazy Sunday Maiden Hurdle but, having attempted to make all, Townend’s mount was collared on the run-in and beaten a length and a quarter by Itshard To No, which scored despite hanging across the track.
The winner was ridden by amateur Noel McParlan for his trainer-father Sean, who described the six-year-old as “a consistent wee boy”, destined for the Tattersalls Sales in Fairyhouse tomorrow.
Trainer Peter Cluskey savoured his first success for more than two years when 25/1 shot Clankyle landed the downpatrickracecourse.co.uk Handicap Hurdle at the expense of Carlyan, which made a costly blunder at the final flight when challenging.
Cluskey commented: “Mark (Bolger) said he was in front sooner than he planned, but that he jumped and travelled his way there. Winners are scarce, so it’s great be back in here (the winner’s enclosure.”
Always a force at the track, Gordon Elliott won the Everyone Loves Downpatrick Mares Handicap Hurdle with Rosie Revenue (Luke Dempsey), which held Tiger Bay Lady on the run-in after the Paul Townend-ridden top-weight and favourite Thanks For Tea slipped and fell at the final flight when chasing the leading pair.
Paul Cashamn made the long journey north worthwhile when saddling Present Flower to win the bumper in the hands of Patrick Casey, the daughter of Presenting powering up the hill to triumph by twelve lengths.
“She’s a progressive mare,” said Cashman.
“It took a couple of runs for the penny to drop, but she’s improving and might go for a mares hurdle in Listowel.”