Ruby Walsh made his way to Thurles yesterday for just one ride, Noble Prince, in the featured John Meagher Memorial Chase and it duly obliged.
Paul Nolan’s charge had been struggling for form for a long time, but Walsh got a real tune from the nine-year-old to score decisively in the end.
Said Nolan: “I blame myself for last season, he had a crack in the hoof of both of his front legs and I shouldn’t have been running him.”
That has obviously cleared up, although there was only minor comfort in his comeback outing when fourth at Punchestown.
Barry Geraghty had Realt Dubh in front at the third last, but Walsh produced Noble Prince with perfect timing to cut down the favourite from the final fence.
Continuing Nolan said: “He didn’t see out his race at Punchestown and I was still worried.
“I’m delighted he’s won, but am not reading too much into it. There is no point in making plans for a horse that was running as badly as him.”
Danny Howard, who is based at Milltown Malbay, Co Clare and took out a licence last Christmas, had his first success on the track when Musawama destroyed the opposition in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase.
Beautifully handled by the talented Kevin Sexton, the winner made all, jumped brilliantly and crossed the line 114 lengths clear of Drumlister.
“We train on the beach”, reported a delighted Howard, who has just five horses in his care. “He disappointed us earlier on, but has come to himself the last few times.”
Sexton, who needs one more winner to lose his 7lbs claim, completed a double when Catimini easily beat well-backed favourite, Diyala, in the Templemore Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.
Diyala tried to make all, but constantly jumped away to her left and looked less than enthusiastic.
Catimini took her measure going to the last and the contest was already decided when Diyala made a shocking mistake at the flight. Winning trainer, Sean Byrne, said: “She’s going the right way, but wants further and softer ground.”
Dessie Hughes’ Wrath Of Titans was all the rage in the market for the Bumper, 4-6 to 8-15. He delivered alright, but only managed to scramble home half a length to the good over Kayf Blanco, after the issue was in some doubt for much of the straight.
“He showed a bit of bottle and I like that”, said Hughes. “We will now find a maiden hurdle for him before Christmas.”
Gentleman Duke continued Arthur Moore’s good run when taking the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Beginners Chase in the hands of David Casey.
Raise Hell made most of the running, but he’s a weak finisher and the winner was far too strong from the final fence.
Said Moore: “That was a good ride, the horse seems far happier over fences than he ever was over hurdles.”
John Berry’s Famous Ballerina, runner-up in her previous two outings, went one better in the Holycross Handicap Hurdle.
Partnered by Mikey Fogarty, the diminutive mare forged to the front coming away from two out to beat Caitlin Brook by a length and a quarter.
Colin Bowe’s Gold Patrol, a winner in the point-to-point fields on his previous outing, took the particularly modest Cashel Maiden Hurdle.
Dun Scaith was the business in the market, but ran far too freely for his own good and Barry O’Neill eased Gold Patrol past between the final two flights.
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