Mark Walsh, who led the title-race for most of last season, until injured at Thurles in February, has started the new campaign in great style and doubled-up on Whatsforuwontgobyu and Mollyanna in the opening maidens hurdles in Sligo last night.
Trained for J P McManus by Tony Martin, 11/10 favourite Whatsforuwontgobyu sprinted clear of market rival Ring Chief on the run-in to land the opening Sligo GAA Race Day 18th August Maiden Hurdle, prompting his trainer to explain: “He had a lovely run the last day (fourth to Space Ship in Down Royal) and built on it. He jumped well and Mark got him nice and relaxed.”
Walsh followed-up and brought his seasonal tally to eight on board the Colin Bowe-trained Mollyanna, which outstayed Court Challenge in the Duke And Duchess of Cornwall Mares Maiden Hurdle. Bowe, who was not present, completed a double when 105-rated mare Mells Theater swooped on the run-in to get the better of favourite Definite Earl in the Martinstown Opportuity Maiden Hurdle, a third winner of the new season for riding star David Mullins.
Shortest-priced favourite of the night, the Willie Mullins-trained Balko Des Flos made all for a smooth success in the bumper.
The Gigginstown-owned, French-bred gelding was following-up a debut win at Leopardstown back in January. Patrick Mullins, dictating the pace in typical style and was always in control on board the 4/9 favourite, coasting home five and a half lengths clear of longshot Better Back Bracka.
The Peter Fahey-trained mare Credo Star, winner of her maiden last time in Wexford, came from last to first to thwart front-running Speed Demon in the four-runner rated novice hurdle, giving Jonathan Burke his fourth win of the new season
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