Our Vinnie displayed his customary stamina and toughness to land the Grade 3 Liberty Insurance Novice Hurdle narrowly in Limerick yesterday.
Ridden by Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden, the five-year-old made the running in the gruelling three-mile contest and held a narrow advantage over odds-on favourite Pride Of the Parish jumping the last.
Our Vinnie pecked on landing, handing the initiative to the Paul Townend-ridden 8/15 shot. But Madden rallied his mount and got him up in the last stride to pip his rival by a short-head.
Our Vinnie, 14/1 (from 20) with Stan James for Cheltenham’s Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle, initiated a 62/1 double for Charles Byrnes, who was in Leopardstown to supervise the abortive return to action of Weapons Amnesty, completed when 20/1 shot Dazzlers Day proved too strong for recent Thurles winner Missie Ella in the Ryans Cleaning Handicap Hurdle. Byrnes’ charge was a third winner at the meeting for jockey Rob Jones.
Narrowly denied on Pride Of the Parish in the feature, Paul Townend had completed a double in the opening two races on odds-on favourites Dogora and Castlerock Rose.
In the absence of Pacelli Road, Dogora went off 1/2 to make a successful Irish debut for Willie Mullins in the opening Welcome To Ladies Day 3-Y-0 Maiden Hurdle and duly obliged, with the minimum of fuss.
Always prominent, the French-bred grey was in command turning for home and stayed on to win, comfortably, by almost five lengths from Spot The Pro.
The former champion had to work a lot harder to force Castlerock Rose past flattering favourite Kashline on the run-in to win the Project Architects & Aeon Consultants Maiden Hurdle by a length.
The mare provided trainer Dan Rohan, from Lisgoold, County Cork, with his first racecourse success.
Townend came off second best on the Willie Mullins-trained favourite Turban in the beginners chase, the 10/11 shot failing to mount a serious challenge to all-the-way winner Beeverstown, ridden for Jim Culloty by Robbie McNamara.
Doneraile-based owner-trainer-breeder Pat Cronin saddled newcomer Prideofthecastle (Damian Murphy) to win the bumper.
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