Compensation for He Is Top Class

Jockeys Paul Townend and Luke Dempsey made the headlines, for contrasting reasons, in Ballinrobe last night.

Compensation for He Is Top Class

Townend took the honours with a 181/1 treble while 3lb. claimer Dempsey was suspended for fourteen days and fined €150 for “repeated offences at scales” which amounted to breaches of three rules governing back-protectors and equipment – he attempted to weight-out, more than 3lb. overweight and with a defective back-protector for his intended ride on Blackandamber Vic (replaced by Andrew Ring) in the mares handicap hurdle.

Townend’s treble was sparked when He Is Top Class, disqualified last time in Sligo, gained compensation for trainer Donie Hassett when proving an emphatic winner of the David Heneghan Memorial Handicap Hurdle.

Hassett conceded: “I thought he mightn’t handle the ground and the two and a half miles. But it suited him well – he was able to relax and jumped well. It’s some consolation after Sligo.”

Townend completed a 55/1 double when Kris Kindle, owned and trained by Edmund Kent, held the determined challenge of favourite Tri Na Ceile and Barry Geraghty in the Ballinrobe Race Committee Mares Handicap Hurdle.

The winning rider commented: “She jumped those hurdles (Easyfix) a bit big early, but was good when she warmed up and was good at the last when she needed to. She likes nice ground, but got through that summer soft.”

Townend completed his haul when The Informer, trained near Letterkenny, County Donegal by Emmet Butterly, won the Malowney and Matthews Handicap Hurdle comfortably, justifying hefty support which saw him shorten from 7/2 to 9/4 on-track.

“He’s a grand horse, but just bumped into one the last day (in Downpatrick),” commented Butterly. “He won well and Paul said he was always in control. He’s lightly-raced and it has just taken a long time for the penny to drop. Everything is coming together well now. He’ll head back to Downpatrick on Monday.”

The featured Treacy’s Pharmacy Chase attracted three Gigginstown-owned runners. Victory went to the Bryan Cooper-ridden favourite Savello, but the Charles Byrnes-trained Arnaud had to be put down, having broken his leg when slipping up after jumping the third fence.

Just four of the seven runners completed the course as Savello beat Kerry National-bound Pass The Hat by almost five lengths, prompting his trainer Tony Martin to comment: “The ground wasn’t in his favour, but you’d have to be happy with him. On his day he’s a fair horse and, while he took a while to warm-up today, he did it well. He’s due to go to the Sales in Doncaster, so we’ll have to see what happens.”

Edward O’Grady suggested, “With a bit of luck, he’ll have new colours for his next run,” after Time For Mabel, in his wife’s colours, justified 11/8 favouritism with a smooth success in the opening At The Races Maiden Hurdle.

Ridden by Andrew Lynch, the French import mastered market rival Way Wild West before the straight to score by four lengths, O’Grady added: “I wasn’t sure about him on that soft ground, he handled it well. I have no definite plans for him – he could go for a handicap somewhere, or we have flat options for him.”

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