Delvino delivers smart performance at Naas

Delvino looks a high-class prospect for trainer Dermot McLoughlin judged on her impressive debut over hurdles at Naas on Monday.

The daughter of Dylan Thomas finished ahead of the exciting Ballyadam when runner-up on her bumper debut at Navan in February, before going one better at Down Royal the following month.

A 9-1 shot for her reappearance and jumping bow in what looked a competitive Happy Christmas From Naas Mares Maiden Hurdle, Delvino swept clear of a couple of good yardsticks in Castra Vetera and Royal Illusion.

McLoughlin said: “I knew she’d like the conditions. She had no experience (jumping), but she’s a high-class mare and she was impressive.

“It’s pity there wasn’t more jumping – it would have been more of a learning curve – but you couldn’t ask any more of her in what was more like a Listed mares’ hurdle than a maiden hurdle.

“I’m sure she won’t go to Leopardstown at Christmas. I’ll speak to the owner and see what there is for her in the new year.

“She likes those extreme conditions, so no matter where she goes it would want to be soft.”

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Barry Connell was thrilled to see Espanito Bello make it third time lucky over fences in the Ballymore Beginners Chase.

Already the winner of a bumper and a maiden hurdle at the County Kildare circuit, the six-year-old had finished well beaten on his first two chase starts, albeit in races won by the high-class pair of Latest Exhibition and Janidil.

The six-year-old was sent off at 12-1 for his latest assignment and it was hard not to be impressed by the way he pulled 18 lengths clear in the hands of Mark Bolger.

Connell, who started training his own horses earlier this year, said: “He’d a lovely run here the last day and he made a couple of novicey mistakes. He learned from that today.

“I was a bit nervous when they took the fences out because he is a good jumper. I thought he’d be there or thereabouts today, but that’s an awesome performance.

“He loves Naas. He won his bumper and maiden hurdle here and was just beaten by Court Maid in a handicap.

“He may come back here in January for the Woodlands Novice Chase over three miles.”

Willie Mullins and Paul Townend teamed up to land the opening Irish Field ‘Supporting Irish Racing’ Maiden Hurdle with the long-absent Echoes In Rain.

Making her first appearance since finishing fifth in a Grade Two at Leopardstown last Christmas on her Irish bow, the 13-8 favourite had the race sewn up a long way from home and passed the post 15 lengths to the good.

“It was a falsely-run race. She jumped great and I think she will be manageable if it was a normal race and not what was going on there,” said the champion jockey.

“She wears a hood because she is forward going, but she will be manageable in a better race. The ground is testing.”

Mullins doubled up in the bumper with impressive newcomer Take Tea (11-8 favourite), ridden by son Patrick.

Free Thought (100-30 favourite) claimed top honours in the Support Local This Christmas Maiden Hurdle for the mother-son combination of Mags and Danny Mullins, before Noel Glynn’s Oneknightmoreihope obliged as the 3-1 market leader in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Handicap Hurdle.

Espion Du Chenet (5-1 favourite) provided trainer Louise Lyons with her first winner under rules with victory in the Naas Nursery Of Champions Handicap Chase, with winning jockey Ryan Treacy riding out his claim in the process.

Lyons said: “He’s come on from his last few runs. He was a bit of a tearaway, but the more he’s done he’s understanding his job and cooling down a bit.

“I’m from England originally and I used to do a lot of showing horses. I represented Ireland at the Olympics in 2008 in eventing and I recently rode Don Cossack in a showing class. He’s like a Ferrari and I was so privileged to get the ride on him.”

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