Irish eyes smiling at Musselburgh

Drumbear looks a bright prospect for Irish trainer John McConnell judged on his debut success over hurdles at Musselburgh.

The six-year-old, having his first start over jumps after winning and being placed in two bumpers, went straight to the front and was keen in the early stages on his first run since April.

However, Drumbear (2-1) soon settled into a nice rhythm for champion Irish conditional jockey Simon Torrens and pulled clear from two out to take the Betway Maiden Hurdle by 10 lengths from 5-4 favourite Salvino.

McConnell said: “He’s a nice horse. He’s still a big baby so he’s got a lot to learn about racing but he has plenty of ability.

“He’s going to get better. He’s a very big horse and obviously he hadn’t run since April so there was quite a gap and he’ll come on for the run as well.

“We’ll take it very steady with him. We won’t put him in too high to soon. We might come back for a novice hurdle the other side of the water in maybe a month’s time.”

McConnell was denied a double when Champagnesocialist had to settle for second place behind Holmes St George in the Betway Casino Open National Hunt Flat Race.

The pair had the race between them in the final two furlongs with Holmes St George (13-8 favourite) asserting in the closing stages under James Bowen to win by five lengths for County Antrim handler Stuart Crawford.

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