Backstage in Galway picture

Backstage earned a possible tilt at the Galway Plate with his victory in the £20,000 (€23,000) Newwave Recruitment Perth Gold Cup Handicap Chase for trainer Gordon Elliott.

Backstage earned a possible tilt at the Galway Plate with his victory in the £20,000 (€23,000) Newwave Recruitment Perth Gold Cup Handicap Chase for trainer Gordon Elliott.

A former jockey with Martin Pipe in his younger days, Elliott has made a cracking start to his training career and always has to be respected on his trips across the Irish Sea.

Backstage, available at double-figure prices in the morning but gambled into 3-1 favouritism, was a promising novice chaser with Evan Williams a couple of years ago, and Elliott has had him out point-to-pointing which seems to have rekindled the spark and he also ran respectably in the hunter chases at the Aintree and Punchestown Festivals.

Jason Maguire appeared to be getting the better of Caipiroska before that one sadly broke down, leaving the winner to come home 11 lengths clear of fellow Irish raiders, Michael Hourigan’s Some Craic and Tracey Kerr’s 100-1 shot All Rise.

“Sending him point-to-pointing really brought him back to life,” said Elliott.

“We took him to Aintree and Punchestown because he is a really nice horse but the ground was against him both days.

“He really loves this fast ground and as he is still only seven he’s a nice horse to look forward to.

“Because he loves this ground we might keep him going for a bit and the Galway Plate could be a possibility.”

On what was a fine day for the Emerald Isle in Scotland, Carsonstown Boy justified strong support in the opening Provost’s Plate Challenge Trophy Novices’ Hurdle.

In front of a crowd verging on 12,000, Graham Lee tracked the long-time leader Mini Beck throughout the extended two-and-a-half-mile contest.

The two had it between them from a long way out but the 5-4 favourite took it up at the second-last and bounded clear to win by nine lengths for Colin McBratney, who sent his charge over from his Downpatrick base.

“He did it nicely in the end,” said McBratney.

“He was second here the last day and we were a bit disappointed with that, we thought he would have won.

“But he’s gone and won today so we are happy now.”

At least Peter Monteith ensured there was a Scottish winner on card for the home team when his Los Nadis made all under Ryan Mania in the Fugro-Rovtech Ltd Handicap Hurdle.

The five-year-old has been keeping fit on the Flat of late and it showed as he made every yard in beating the 9-4 favourite Solway Sunset by three and a quarter lengths.

Pilca secured his first win since joining Malcolm Jefferson in the JD Pipes Novices’ Handicap.

The well-tried nine-year-old was previously with Declan Carroll, where most of his winning form had come over two miles.

However, Phil Kinsella made a positive move on the 8-1 chance when taking up the running from He’s A Hotshot three out and he was soon clear.

His stamina did appear to be running out after the last but he was kept up to his work to record a three-length success.

There was a popular winner of the stanjames.com Handicap Chase when Barry Murtagh’s 13-year-old Hollows Mill (4-1) just held off the late challenge of Elliott’s The Rocking Dock for Campbell Gillies, who recorded a double when Now This Is It (5-1) won the bumper in style.

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