On a day when Davy Russell sustained a wrist injury in a fall from No Dice in the opener and was stood down for the rest of the meeting, John ‘Shark’ Hanlon and Rachael Blackmore took the honours in Down Royal yesterday, recoding a 53/1 double with Honest Robber and Camlann.
Twelve-year-old Honest Robber, which made his belated racecourse debut only last July, landed a bit of a touch in the St.Patrick’s Punter Pack Handicap Chase, coming through to get the better of Cappacurry Zak to triumph for ‘Shark’ Hanlon.
Sent off at 8/1 (from as big as 20/1 in the morning), Honest Robber scored by three lengths, prompting his rider to state: “It’s a fair training performance to get a twelve-year-old to win as a maiden. The ground is hard work out there, but he seemed to relish it.”
The Hanlon/Blackmore double was completed when Camlann, patiently ridden, outpointed There You Go in the Bet With The Tote Handicap Hurdle.
And with the trainer presumably on duty Tattersalls Sales, Blackmore declared: “It’s always a good day when you have a double! So it’s a great day. He’s been consistent and deserved this.”
She confirmed that she needs just one more winner to lose her 5lb. claim.
Gordon Elliott matched Hanlon’s double, saddling Holeinthewall Bar to belatedly open his account over fences before unleashing promising newcomer Last Minute Man to win the bumper.
Beaten in Ayr last time, a change of tactics yielded dividends for Holeinthewall Bar, positively ridden by Denis O’Regan, in the Down Royal Handicap Chase.
The nine-year-old won by fifteen lengths to record his first success over fences, at his seventeenth attempt. His trainer stated: “We bought him for handy enough money in Doncaster, for the syndicate to have a bit of fun. So it’s great that he’s won.”
Last Minute Man, in the colours of Paul and Claire Rooney, made a successful debut in the bumper, repaying the first instalment of the €125,000 he cost at Tattersalls last June.
Ridden by Jamie Codd, the Yeats gelding squeezed through on the inside of favourite Trainwreck in the final furlong to triumph by three lengths.
Gordon Elliott enthused: “I think he’s a real good horse. He’s gorgeous, but still a big weak baby. So we mightn’t run him again this season.”
Turned out quickly after a handicap success in Naas on Saturday, Charlie Stout completed a quick double for Shane Nolan and Eamonn Corbett in the Silks @Down Royal Rated Novice Hurdle, proving too strong for Cadeau Du Bresil and Aretesone.
Ridden more positively this time, the six-year-old stayed on dourly to triumph by two and three-quarter lengths. His trainer explained: “He’s tough and hardy and I felt he didn’t have much of a race in Naas, although it’s not ideal running again so soon. He was done for toe, but was staying on strongly at the line.
“They were going no gallop out there, so Eamonn let him stride on, knowing that he stays well. We’ll look for something in three or four weeks for him.”
The opening rated novice chase, in which Davy Russell sustained his injury, proved incident-filled as No Dice, Kick On Boss and Dollar And a Dream all exited in a race which saw A Great View, trained for J P McManus by Denis Cullen, register his first chase success, at the fourth attempt.
The Kayf Tara gelding, another winner for in-form Mark Walsh, got the better of Double Scores, to the satisfaction of trainer Cullen, who commented: “The race cut up and it was a nice opportunity for him – he was the best of them over hurdles. His jumping is still a bit novicey, but he’s improving with every run.”
Trainer Stuart Crawford admitted: “It’s nice to get a wee surprise - I sold Well Joey to Prunella Dobbs and couldn’t see our mare beating him today,” after his Indy Island swept past Well Joey on the run-in to capture the Sean Graham Bookmakers Maiden Hurdle, providing jockey J J Slevin with his third win in six days.
Crawford added: “She won her point-to-point on fast ground and we were looking forward to the summer with her, not today. I thought the two miles would be short enough for her, but I suppose the rain helped her. We’ll probably go across the water for a mares novice with her now.”
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