In the absence of Identity Thief, the Jessica Harrington-trained Modem was sent off a red-hot 1/10 favourite to beat sole rival Baby Jake in the featured Follow Punchestown On Twitter and Facebook Rated Hurdle at Punchestown yesterday.
And he duly obliged, making all under Mark Bolger for a comfortable five lengths success.
“It was like an exercise gallop, but I’m delighted he has another win under his belt – he’s won four this year,” said Harrington.
“He’s in the Leopardstown November Handicap but probably won’t get in and, if he doesn’t, he’ll go for the Grade 2 WKD Hurdle, for second season novices, in Down Royal.”
Karl Thornton saddled the versatile Colms Dream to win the Festival “3 For 2” Deals Handicap Chase, confirming Roscommon form with fellow 3/1 joint-favourite Shield.
Ridden by 7lb claimer Donagh Meyler, the six-year-old tracked the leaders, jumping well, and improved to dispute the lead five fences from home before edging ahead before the straight.
On the run-in, he was driven out to hold the Barry Geraghty-ridden Shield by a half-length.
“He seems to have come on from his last run — he’s only six and is thriving improving all the time,” said Thornton.
“Light weights are they key to him, because he’s not very big. But he jumps great. Today wasn’t part of my plan, but he’s still heading to Down Royal at the end of the month.”
Amateur JJ Slevin registered his third success on the racecourse when Moylisha Tim, trained in Wexford by Richie Rath, justified 9/4 favouritism in the irishinjuredjockeys.com Maiden Hurdle.
The five-year-old made every yard of the running and stayed on stoutly to beat Silken Thomas by five lengths.
Rath said: “We only have him since the start of May. But he’s a tough, tough horse and is improving every week — he’s getting stronger all the time.”
The Colin Bowe-trained Don Vincenzo provided another win for Wexford when proving too strong for market-leaders Full Cry and Captain Vonn Trappe in the beginners chase, providing in-form jockey Sean Flanagan with his third success in a week.
“Good ground is the key to him and the small field helped – he tends to be a bit keen when he’s surrounded by horses,” said Bowe, who will keep the six-year-old “on the go” while the ground remains good.
Sports Barrow, ridden for Sandra Hughes by Roger Loughran, provided Dubai-based owner Malik Al Basti with his first hurdle success when springing a 33/1 shock in the opening three-year-old maiden hurdle. The Windsor Knot gelding beat Vocal Heir by seven and a half lengths.
Hughes said: “That ground is as quick as he’d like, but he can gallop.”
Trained locally by Denis Cullen, See Me Here (20/1) was another shock winner, landing the 80-102 handicap hurdle under Luke Dempsey.
Cullen said: “He’s had plenty of problems and has been a frustrating horse. But he got good ground today and got a smashing ride from Luke.”
The bumper produced a memorable victory for the Phelan family as Petuna, trained by Maurice for his brother Eamon, foiled favourite Earth Sister by three-quarters of a length.
The Aussie Rules filly, who might go to Dundalk for a Flat maiden, according to her trainer, was ridden by Phelan’s nephew Sean Houlihan, who is based with Philip Hobbs in England. The 20-year-old has ridden one hunter-chase winner in England, but was recording his first success, under rules, in Ireland.
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