Buyer Beware off the mark for Elliott at first attempt in Downpatrick

Roger Loughran rode his first winner for Gordon Elliott when Buyer Beware, having his first run for the trainer and returning from a winter break, captured the opening Count Me In Maiden Hurdle in good style from Sold Heat at Downpatrick yesterday.

Buyer Beware off the mark for Elliott at first attempt in Downpatrick

The winner was bought by Tom O’Driscoll out of Jessica Harrington’s for €35,000 at Goffs last November and Elliott commented: “It wasn’t the strongest race in the world, but he did it well. He’ll be a stone better horse on good ground. He might go to Perth in three weeks for a novice.”

Bryan Cooper registered his first win since Don Cossack’s superb Gold Cup triumph in Cheltenham when 9/4 favourite Le Grand Chene, a course winner last May, outstayed top-weight Pointview Gale in the Download The Racing Post Android App Handicap Chase, with two and three-quarter lengths separating them at the line

“He is what he is, but he manages to win one or two most years,” said Elliott. “And he’s another that’ll be heading for Perth.”

Elliott and Cooper were denied further success when Aminabad (made a mistake two out) failed to cope with even-money favourite The Winkler in the Toals Bookmakers Beginners Chase.

The Donagh Meyler-ridden winner, which survived a bad blunder at the third last before rallying and asserting on the uphill run-in, was belatedly opening his account over fences, having filled the runner-up berth in four of his previous six outings over the bigger obstacles.

“Today was his ‘National’ and he deserved it. It was nearly game-over at the third last, but he picked them up well and won nicely,” commented the winning rider.

An easy-to-back 5/2 shot, in the face of strong support for Gordon Elliott’s Bingo Conti (finished a well beaten fifth), Bel Sas proved a convincing winner of the bumper, the Posh Nosh Flat Race, for Willie and Patrick Mullins.

The Gigginstown-owned Balko gelding, disappointing on his debut in Navan, eased into the lead with more than a furlong and a half to race before being driven clear to score by eleven lengths from Jimmy Breekie, giving the Mullins team a third win in the race in four years.

“In my opinion, he’s a summer horse, at his best on better ground and on a tight track,” stated Patrick Mullins, “He’s not a big winter horse and the heavy ground in Navan found him out.”

Three days after his Grade 1 breakthrough success with Jer’s Girl at Fairyhouse on Sunday, Gavin Cromwell saddled Midnight Theatre to justify 4/6 favouritism in the Supporting The Irish Injured Jockeys Fund Mares Maiden Hurdle.

Bouncing back from a very disappointing run in Limerick last time (when she lost a shoe), the seven-year-old King’s Theatre mare made all under Luke Dempsey and stayed on dourly to beat Steel’s Cotton by two lengths prompting Cromwell to explain: “She’s slow and wants every yard of the trip – to be honest, she wants three miles. It was a moderate race, but she stuck it out well.”

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