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Autumn Evening another winner for in-form Harrington team

Autumn Evening ran out a ready winner of the valuable Liam Healy Memorial Lartigue Hurdle at Listowel for the red-hot Jessica Harrington.

Harrington has been carrying all before her on the Flat in recent weeks, including an incredible four-timer over Irish Champions Weekend, but she once again showed her skills in the National Hunt sphere.

There appeared to be plenty in with a chance just before the turn for home, with almost six in a line.

However, the picture soon changed as Willie Mullins’ Dark Voyager went around the outside and took up the running.

The only one who could go with him was Autumn Evening (14-1) and despite only holding a narrow advantage on jumping the last, Sean O’Keeffe’s mount powered up the run in to eventually win by four lengths.

The race was run in memory of former photographer Liam Healy from Listowel who died in 2016.

“We gave him a nice good break after February and he strengthened up. He had a run back at Tramore and was meant to run at Gowran two weeks ago, but didn’t run as the ground was too quick for him,” said assistant trainer Kate Harrington.

“We hoped we had him fit enough for today, but he has been really good and two miles will probably be his minimum. We could step him back up to two and a half throughout the season and I think he’ll be competitive in those handicaps.

“We’ll also go back and try to win one on the Flat before the season is out. It is great for Joe (O’Flaherty) who is a great supporter and it is also lovely to win the Liam Healy Memorial Race.

“We have very fond memories of him, so it is a privilege to win his race.”

Earlier Gordon Elliott took the first two races with nice prospects in Party Central (4-7 favourite) and I A Connect (evens favourite).

Davy Russell rode the first of them but gave up his remaining rides due to an upset stomach.

Elliot said of Party Central: “It was a nice performance. Davy said there is plenty of improvement in her and she’ll come on a lot from it. We knew she was just ready to start off.

“Looking at her today, she enjoyed that two and a half miles but she could come back too.

“She is having a proper blow but is highly-strung and I wouldn’t have galloped her much at home. I want to keep the lid on her and she might now go for a Graded novice hurdle at Down Royal in November.”