Rubi Ball, the winner of 16 races in his native France, made a less than auspicious start in this country when going under by a head to Foildubh in the Rock Of Cashel Hurdle at Thurles yesterday.
Considering the short priced favourite was in receipt of 10lbs from Foildubh, it leaves Willie Mullins with a mountain to climb if Rubi Ball is to return to the horse he once was.
Paul Carberry grabbed the initiative on Foildubh with over a circuit to go, putting it right up to Rubi Ball.
The pair were in the air together over the last two hurdles, but Rubi Ball was a trifle awkward at the last and then couldn’t quite close down Foildubh, the verdict a head.
Winning trainer, John Ryan, said: “He is a better horse than he was last season, he’s much stronger.
“The plan now is the Lexus Chase (Leopardstown), the trip (three miles) won’t be a problem, he has loads of stamina.
“If Paul can’t ride him then he won’t go for that, we’ll find something else, wherever Paul is available.”
Mullins said of Rubi Ball: “It appears he wants to go left-handed and the ground was probably too quick for him.
“He didn’t have a lot of respect for the hurdles and it was a bit disappointing, but we can build from here.”
Mullins and Ruby Walsh, who partnered Rubi Ball, earlier combined with Lucky Bridle to land the Cahir Maiden Hurdle.
Little went right for the ex-French horse on his first outing in this country, and over jumps, when third at Punchestown, but it was plain sailing for him on this occasion.
He did have a good look at some of the flights, but Walsh soon had him bowling along in front and only had to nudge out his charge in the closing stages to beat Shield.
“He has a lot to learn, but I feel will learn,” said Mullins. “He won’t be going for anything fancy, probably a winners’ of one.”
Charlie Swan’s Make A Track was a costly failure in the Glen Chase, having to give best to Jimmy Mangan’s Letter Of Credit.
Mangan’s charge had been plagued by indifferent jumping in the past, but tackling three miles here produced a decent round.
The principals had a real battle in the straight, with Philip Enright finally forcing Letter Of Credit to a hard earned half a length success.
“Philip always said to step him up to two miles and six anyway,” reported Mangan. “His jumping can be in and out, he will probably go to Limerick at Christmas now.”
Mark Walsh gave Christy Roche’s Sitcom a fine drive to take the Killinan Beginners Chase.
Walsh was in no hurry and the winner was only fourth into the straight. But she was soon right in the mix, challenged at the last and forged away from long-time leader, Kilcarrry Bridge, on the flat.
Frank Berry did the honours and said: “She jumped great and handled the ground well, we will find a handicap for her down the line.”
Mouse Morris’ Baily Dusk justified favouritism in the www.thurlesraces.ie Handicap Chase, but was probably a lucky winner.
He attempted to make all the running, but The Blarney Rose appeared to have his measure when falling at the final fence.
“He’s had three wind operations in the past and will now get a week off, before we decide what’s next,” said Morris
The Charles Byrnes-trained Sea Light was all the rage for the Horse And Jockey Handicap Hurdle, going off the heavily backed 2-1 favourite, after fancy prices were hoovered in the morning.
Ridden by Rob Jones, who has now lost his right to claim, Sea Light eased ahead going to the second last and powered clear on the flat to score by four lengths.
Edward O’Grady’s Lord Of Lords proved a costly failure in the last, the Holycross Maiden Hurdle.
He made most of the running, but stopped to a walk early in the straight, as Oscar Chimes, trained at Bartlemy, Co Cork by Michael O’Donovan, moved on in the hands of Ryan Treacy.
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