Atonement day for Big Break

CLOSE CALL: Vilman (Shane Foley - right) winning the Athassel House Stud EBF Maiden from Intense Pride (green with blue sleeves) at Tipperary yesterday.

Big Break atoned for an odds-on reverse in last year’s Coolmore Stud Home Of Champions Concorde Stakes when making no mistake this time in the Group Three event at Tipperary yesterday.

Brendan Brackan cut out the running, closely attended by Dark Skies with Big Break and Leigh Roche just behind.

The Dermot Weld-trained winner (3-1) was still moving easily turning for home and was soon asked to quicken.

Asserting over a furlong out, it was not all plain sailing but she was always just holding the renewed effort of the gallant Brendan Brackan, scoring by half a length to give Roche his biggest success to date.

Kris Weld, representing his father, said: “That’s most satisfactory and it’s great for Leigh.

“She hasn’t been the most straightforward to train, but she loved the cut in the ground. The weather has been no help to her this year.

“On her day she is very classy and she showed that today. Dad will speak to Lord Grimthorpe (owner Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager) and she’ll likely go for the Knockaire Stakes at Leopardstown now.

“It hasn’t been decided but it’s unlikely she’ll come back next year. She’s from a family that has been very good to us with Famous Name.”

The hugely popular Rebel Fitz took the Grade Two Istabraq Hurdle with the minimum of fuss.

Winner of the Galway Hurdle and also a Grade One victor over fences, the Mick Winters-trained nine-year-old won on the Flat at Listowel last month, his first run since that Powers Gold Cup win in which he picked up an injury, and arrived cherry-ripe for his return to timber.

Darwins Fox cut out the running, but was a sitting duck for Barry Geraghty’s mount, who jumped two out taking a narrow advatage.

Easing clear from there, the 30-100 favourite pinged the last to come a very easy four-and-a-half-length winner.

Winters said: “It was his first time jumping since he got his injury so every day you’re a bit anxious.

“He came out of the race great the last day, though, and he looked very well coming in there so hopefully he’s fine again.

“He’s very popular and he’s giving a lot of fun to an awful lot of people. I’d say we had another big following here from Kanturk today.

“He’s getting old now so maybe himself and Sizing Europe could have a race between the two of them at Christmas!

“We’ll take it easy for a couple of weeks now and we’ll see what’s there, but really it’s Christmas next I’d say.

“He’ll probably run once in the meantime, but I didn’t really look beyond today.

“His mark is 155 and if we keep picking races like this we might go back to Galway next year.

“It would make up for missing it this year.”

Rich Coast was a comprehensive winner of the Dolores Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle for Noel Meade and Paul Carberry.

The 8-1 shot was positioned in third for much of the two-mile journey, but moved up to challenge Macnicholson two flights from the finish and kicked clear in the straight to take the Grade Three prize by three and a half lengths.

Macnicholson stuck on for the runner-up spot ahead of Storm Away in third. Meade said: “He wings hurdles and today was the first time that we saw his Flat ability.

“Holding him up hadn’t worked and he fought against it.

“A flat track seems to suit him as well and ground is important – he doesn’t like heavy.

“I’d like to run him in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse, but only if the ground isn’t too soft.”


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