Paul Townend was the star of the show at Cork yesterday, landing a spectacular four-timer.
He began on Willie Mullins’ Upsie, who justified favouritism in the Follow Us On Facebook Rated Hurdle, but not before giving supporters some anxious moments.
She set off in front, but didn’t half put on the brakes heading to the fourth and only managed to scramble across the flight.
The five-year-old was then clear going to the last, but was lucky to survive a bad mistake. Townend, said: “She was looking around in front and wanted more company.”
Townend was back in the winner’s enclosure after guiding another Mullins inmate, the French import, Valseur Lido, to a stunning success in the www.racinghomeforeaster.com Maiden Hurdle.
Jumping superbly, Valseur Lido led over the fourth. After that it was a procession, as he strolled up the straight to score hard held by 13 lengths.
Reported Townend: “He could be a good one, picked up every time I asked him and was professional in front.”
He was on the mark again when enjoying another armchair drive aboard Philip Rothwell’s Ballyburke in the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Beginners Chase.
The hitherto frustrating eight-year-old eased into the lead before three out and scored with his head in his chest from Sammy Black.
Charles Byrnes’ Moscow Chief was the business in the ring, 3-1 to 7-4, but blundering seven from home was no help. He was then struggling to close down the leaders when falling four out.
Winner number four for Townend duly arrived on Noel Meade’s Protaras in the Christmas Party Raceday December 8th Handicap Chase, but this was much harder work.
Meade’s other runner, Perfect Smile, looked the most likely winner all the way up the straight, but Protaras nailed him close home to score by a neck.
Willie Mullins, who had four winners at Punchestown, took his score for the day to seven when the hugely impressive Rathvinden ran away with the Bumper, in the hands of Patrick Mullins.
He cruised through the contest, before quickening clear in the last two furlongs to win by 13 lengths.
Commented Patrick: “He was working very well at home and is a good horse. It was a proper race, they went a good gallop.”
Philip Fenton’s charges are in fine form and his Real Steel created a favourable impression when running away with the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle.
Heavily backed as high as 7-4 in the morning, the imposing son of Old Vic was returned at 5-6.
Brian O’Connell was in the plate and he allowed this free running sort to lead with a circuit to cover.
Real Steel made the rest, hardly breaking sweet to coast home 17 lengths clear of Crystal Earth.
Said Fenton: “He’s a fine horse, but needs to settle, that will come with racing. He got quite warm before the race, the funny thing is that he is a gentle giant at home.
“I don’t know what will be next, we will take our time. I think he will make a grand two-mile chaser.”
Fenton confirmed that the exciting The Tullow Tank is on schedule for the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse on December 1.
Donal O’Shea, who trains at Glenbeigh, Co Kerry, enjoyed a turn when his progressive Coolmill took the www.corkracecourse.ie Handicap Hurdle.
Partnered by Joe Holly, the winner made all the running, and was too good for top weight He’llberemembered, who didn’t help his cause by getting in tight to the second last.
Said O’Shea: “He’s tough and handles any ground. We will now wait and see how he comes out of the race.”
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