The Peter Fahey-trained Gypsy Island overcame a two-year absence when winning the Hotel Minella Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.
It was far from straightforward, as the long odds-on favourite made a bad mistake at the second-last and hung in towards the rails between the last two.
However, Annie G made a bad mistake at the last, opening the door to Mark Walsh and Gypsy Island, and they took advantage to get straight back to winning ways.
“After jumping the second-last, I thought she had run a good race and I was happy enough with her but when Henry’s horse made a mistake at the last it gave us a second chance,” said Fahey.
“In fairness to the filly, when Mark gave her a squeeze, she stayed at it and won snug enough in the end.”
Reflecting on the season just passed, he added: “We had a brilliant back-end to the season.
“They’ve been running very well in good races. They’re healthy and well and hopefully it will continue for the summer.
“We have a nice bunch of horses to go forward with now.”
Belfast Banter, who won the County Hurdle at Cheltenham and gave Fahey his Grade 1 breakthrough in the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree, has had his sights set on the completion of a big treble, as Fahey revealed: “He’ll get one run on the Flat before Galway – the plan is the Galway Hurdle.”
Bronson In Blue has progressed with each run since joining Lorna Fowler and got his turn in the Ryan’s Cleaning Event Specialists Handicap Hurdle, which he won under Conor Orr.
Give Me A Moment, ridden by Adam Short for Pat Griffin, caused a huge upset when quickening past favourite Jack Holiday late on in the Tipperary Racecourse Handicap Chase.
In the Berkshire @ Kedrah House Stud Beginners’ Chase, Face The Odds, trained by Noel Meade, was produced late to pick the pocket of Fully Charged, who traded 1.09 on the exchanges before succumbing to the charge of Sean Flanagan’s mount.
In the Glenview And Rathbarry Stud Maiden Hunters’ Chase, Derek O’Connor made all the running to land the spoils aboard Sliabh Mhuire Lass, while Nancy Wyse, ridden by Shane O’Rourke for Ger Quirk, went on down the back in the p2p.ie mares’ bumper and kept going gamely to fend off four late challengers.
In an exciting finish to the second p2p.ie bumper, Douglas Talking, trained by Andy Lynch and ridden by Paul Bannon, got up in the final stride to deny favourite My Immortal by a whisker.