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Chatham Street Lad straight back to winning ways after Cheltenham

Chatham Street Lad had no trouble stepping up to three miles to easily win the Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase at Limerick.

A creditable fourth to Chantry House in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham just 10 days previously, the nine-year-old showed no ill-effects from that run.

Trainer Mick Winters thought this Grade Three heat was a good opportunity to try the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner beyond an extended two and a half miles, and so it proved when he outclassed his four rivals.

Chatham Street Lad travelled beautifully throughout, just off the pace set by Defi Bleu and Full Time Score, until Darragh O’Keeffe made his move after the third-last fence.

The even-money favourite cruised into the lead and sealed victory with a superb jump at the last, to come home 11 lengths clear of Defi Bleu. Full Time Score was 48 lengths back in third place.

“He thrived on the conditions and had more time to fiddle his jumps and I never saw Darragh so happy,” said Winters.

“He travelled over to Cheltenham fiercely well, but the ground had dried that little extra fraction for him and I was half-thinking of pulling the plug and not running him.

“I did feel he came home out of Cheltenham very well in himself and he loved these conditions today. I know you put your head on the plate a bit, but you can’t hide.

“The way he jumped there, you wouldn’t mind running him in a National on heavy ground, but I’ll leave that up to the owners.

“There is great prize-money now, like the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup over in Cheltenham, and great sponsorship and the money today was outstanding.”

Chatham steps up in trip for quick reappearance at Limerick

Chatham Street Lad makes a swift return to action in the Hugh McMahon Memorial Novice Chase at Limerick on Sunday.

The Mick Winters-trained nine-year-old was not disgraced in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham last week, beaten less than 10 lengths by Chantry House.

He had earlier caused something of a surprise when a 15-length winner of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December.

Chatham Street Lad faces just four rivals, but they include Henry de Bromhead’s Full Time Score, who lifted a maiden hurdle in February and was sent straight over fences the following month when winning at Gowran.

“He seems to be fine after Cheltenham,” said Winters.

“The ground is soft which he’ll like, but it’s his first time over three miles – I think he’ll stay it.

“It might be his last run this season, we’ll see. He’s eating up though and hasn’t told me I shouldn’t be running him.

“I’m just keen to see if he stays three miles and with the ground as it is, I wanted to run.

“The jockey (Darragh O’Keeffe) just said at Cheltenham he made a mistake at the wrong time and met a bit of trouble. He didn’t look out of place, though.

“I was happy enough with his run, he could have maybe finished a bit closer without interference.

“There’s only five runners, so hopefully he can win. He’s come a long way this season.”

Dove takes flight for Limerick prize

Scarlet And Dove overcame one bad mistake to land short odds with an all-the-way win in the Grade Two Charleville Cheese Irish EBF Mares Novice Chase at Limerick.

Joseph O’Brien’s seven-year-old had to concede 3lb all round, up in trip following her Flyingbolt win at Navan this month, but was sent off a well-backed 8-11 favourite to do so.

She relished the heavy ground, in the feature race on a card which had to pass an early-morning inspection, seeing off eventual fourth Avellino by the second-last en route to an impressive seven-length success from the staying-on Minx Tiara.

There was, however, one very worrying moment early in the back straight for jockey Donagh Meyler – when Gigginstown House Stud’s mare did well to stay upright after hitting the fence hard and then pitching on landing.

After Scarlet And Dove nonetheless sealed her third course victory, Meyler said: “She has been good to me – she picked up a Grade Three last week and a Grade Two today. The race cut up, but we reaped the rewards.

“She jumped the next few fences well after making her mistake, and is learning the whole time.

“She was matching strides with (Cheltenham Festival contender) Colreevy the whole way at Thurles – and I didn’t think I was out of it when she fell.

“Her jumping wasn’t brilliant that day, but is coming on with every run. Hopefully she’ll progress again and meet (Colreevy) again in the future.”

Darrens Hope had earlier returned to winning form, and improved on her third-placed effort 12 months ago, with a valuable success in the Grade Three Kerry Group Irish EBF Shannon Spray Mares Novice Hurdle.

Kevin Brouder had owner-trainer Robert Murphy’s seven-year-old off the pace set by Sayce Gold, but always within striking distance.

Sayce Gold was still in front in the straight and appeared to have her opponents on the stretch.

But 13-2 shot Darrens Hope challenged between the last two flights for a comfortable two-and-three-quarter-length win from Ballyshannon Rose, with Sayce Gold having to settle for third.

Murphy said: “I’m over the moon.

“She is a fine mare, and I knew there was a good one in her. We were hoping the ground would suit her today – she was lame a week before her second-last race, but she was perfect today and was at home on that ground.

“We’ll go over fences next season, and we’ll look to Fairyhouse or Punchestown next.”

Limerick double for De Bromhead and Blackmore

Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore combined to claim two winners on the belated final day of the Christmas Racing Festival at Limerick.

The six-race card was saved and swiftly re-scheduled to a midweek slot, following Sunday’s abandonment because of a waterlogged track.

Proceedings got under way with the ‘David Fitzgerald – Take It Easee’ Maiden Hurdle, which saw French import Kalkas open his Irish account at the second attempt.

Third on his only start in his homeland a year ago, Kalkas subsequently changed hands for £210,000, but was comprehensively beaten on his debut for De Bromhead at Navan earlier this month.

However, dropping back in distance, the 2-1 shot raised his game in the hands of Blackmore – ploughing through the mud to beat 11-10 favourite Rajsalad by two and a half lengths.

“He is a beautiful horse to ride. Derek O’Connor rode him the last day, and it was his idea to maybe step him back to two miles – he was spot on,” said Blackmore.

“It was tough going out there, but he did it nicely.”

De Bromhead and Blackmore doubled up with Atlantic Fairy, who was even more impressive in the Roches Feeds Mares Maiden Hurdle.

Placed at Clonmel and Cork on her first couple of appearances over hurdles, the daughter of Jeremy was the 6-4 favourite to make it third time lucky – and came home 20 lengths clear of Nelly’s Money.

Blackmore added: “She was second in a point-to-point for Michael Byrne and she is owned by my sponsor Mark Phelan (of PCI Insurance), so it is great to ride a winner in his colours.

“Obviously her run the last day behind Master McShee got a form boost in Leopardstown, and she is nice – so hopefully there will be a lot more fun to be had with her.”

The Johnny Levins-trained Wishmoor was an 11-4 winner of the Goggin Buckley Veterans Handicap Chase under Ricky Doyle.

Levins, who is better known as a Flat trainer, said: “I thoroughly enjoy training this fellow. I was keen to get a few jumpers, and the plan is to get a few more so we can be busy during the winter as well.

“To be honest I didn’t watch one jump, I was looking at the ground – I get very nervous with the Flat, never mind the jumps!

“I’m delighted.”

Staker Wallace rewarded odds-on backers in the Earl Of Harrington Memorial Maiden Hunters Chase.

Fourth in the Foxhunter Chase at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, Enda Bolger’s charge had since been beaten in successive point-to-points this winter.

But ridden by leading amateur Barry O’Neill, the JP McManus-owned gelding made no mistake back under Rules as he eased to a near two-length verdict over Super Citizen.

“We’ll follow the hunter chases around with him, but they are very hot and if I have to stay away from the better horses – at the back of my head, I think he could win a Ladies Cup at Punchestown,” said Bolger.

Moonlight Glory (5-2) won the Convermax Handicap Hurdle for trainer Eoin McCarthy and 7lb claimer Gearoid Brouder, before father and son Charles and Philip Byrnes teamed up to land the bumper with 7-2 chance Blazing Khal.

Grand Roi rules at Limerick

Grand Roi registered a Grade Two success for Gordon Elliott on just his second start for the yard in the Grant Thornton Hurdle at Limerick.

After Grand Roi won three times for Nicky Henderson in the UK, Noel and Valerie Moran paid £400,000 for him at the Goffs Summer Sale.

He was a fair third of four on debut for his new yard at Galway behind the smart Beacon Edge – and Elliott found the perfect race for him on this occasion, back in against last season’s juveniles.

To the fore throughout under Denis O’Regan, Grand Roi powered away in the closing stages to beat Wolf Prince by eight lengths at 6-1.

“His jumping was superb on that ground. He travelled beautifully and has the makings of a very nice horse for a four-year-old,” said O’Regan.

“I reckoned he ran better than the form suggested in Galway over two-five – and coming back to two miles here, we could pop him out and use his jumping.

“He’s obviously taken a little time to get accustomed to Gordon Elliott’s stable, and he seems a nice horse.”

Inspection at Newbury – and ‘concerning’ forecast for Cheltenham

The prospect of continued wintry weather is giving officials a headache at Newbury and Cheltenham – where high-profile meetings are due to take place on Tuesday and New Year’s Day.

The card at Newbury, set to feature the Grade One MansionBet Challow Novices’ Hurdle, is subject to a precautionary inspection on Tuesday morning because of the threat of frost.

The Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle is Friday’s feature at Cheltenham – where the going is currently heavy, waterlogged in places, with colder weather bringing sleet and snow expected this week.

While Newbury clerk of the course Keith Ottesen reports the Berkshire track to be perfectly raceable at present, the threat of an overnight frost and possible wintry showers has prompted him to call an 8.30am check.

He said: “We have covered the racing lines on both the hurdles and chase tracks. It might drop to 0C or -1C, with daytime temperatures of 2C or 3C – so pretty similar to today really, with the possibility of some wintry showers.

“We are perfectly raceable today – and the inspection is purely precautionary – but there is no point in being complacent, so we will have a look in the morning.”

The going is currently described as soft at the Berkshire venue.

At Cheltenham, clerk of the course Simon Claisse, described the forecast as “concerning”.

The track has been hit with 110 millimetres of rain since the last meeting there on December 12. The further worry for officials is that sleet and snow is forecast, with overnight frosts and daytime temperatures of 3C.

“It’s a concerning forecast in that we wouldn’t take much more rain and sleet or snow,” said Claisse.

“We’re not in a position to cover, given our track is waterlogged at the moment.

“There’s snow in the forecast. It’s fingers crossed really we dodge the worst of the cold and any further rain.

“We’ll take stock tomorrow, then it’s declarations on Wednesday and racing on Friday.”

Conditions are also on the easy side at Doncaster and Kelso – with an inspection scheduled at the Scottish track for 7.30am “in case temperatures are lower than forecast overnight”.

Southwell will be racing on the all-weather.

Wednesday’s meeting at Haydock has already been called off because of snow.

The Merseyside venue was due to stage a seven-race card, but four inches of snow fell at the track overnight, forcing the cancellation of the meeting.

The course tweeted: “Unfortunately due to four inches of snow overnight and substantial rain on Boxing Day, racing has been abandoned on Wednesday 30th December.”

Racing is still set to go ahead at Market Rasen and Taunton over jumps, with an all-weather card at Wolverhampton.

The scheduled jumps card at Uttoxeter has been abandoned because of waterlogging, however, on Thursday – when an additional all-weather meeting will take place at Newcastle.

Frosty Newbury calls inspection

Tuesday’s meeting at Newbury, which is due to feature the Grade One MansionBet Challow Novices’ Hurdle, is subject to a precautionary inspection because of the threat of frost.

While clerk of the course Keith Ottesen reports the track to be perfectly raceable at present, the prospect of an overnight frost and possible wintry showers has prompted him to call an 8.30am check.

He said: “We have covered the racing lines on both the hurdles and chase tracks. It might drop to 0C or -1C, with daytime temperatures of 2C or 3C – so pretty similar to today really, with the possibility of some wintry showers.

“We are perfectly raceable today – and the inspection is purely precautionary – but there is no point in being complacent, so we will have a look in the morning.”

The going is currently described as soft at the Berkshire venue.

Conditions also on the easy side at Doncaster and Kelso – with an inspection scheduled at the Scottish track for 7.30am “in case temperatures are lower than forecast overnight”.

Southwell will be racing on the all-weather.

Wednesday’s meeting at Haydock has already been called off because of snow.

The Merseyside venue was due to stage a seven-race card, but four inches of snow fell at the track overnight, forcing the cancellation of the meeting.

The course tweeted: “Unfortunately due to four inches of snow overnight and substantial rain on Boxing Day, racing has been abandoned on Wednesday 30th December.”

Racing is still scheduled for Market Rasen and Taunton over jumps, with an all-weather card at Wolverhampton.

The scheduled jumps card at Uttoxeter has been abandoned because of waterlogging, however, on Thursday – when an additional all-weather meeting will take place at Newcastle.

Farouk D’alene digs deep to take Limerick honours

Farouk D’alene just held off the late thrust of Vanillier in a war of attrition for the Lyons Of Limerick Jaguar Land Rover Novice Hurdle at Limerick.

The race was transferred from Sunday’s card – which was abandoned because of waterlogging – and while the going was still extremely deep, it was at least raceable.

It nonetheless made the two-mile-seven-furlong trip an extreme test for a field of novices who did not have that much experience to call upon.

Gordon Elliott’s Farouk D’alene took over from Costalotmore with a mile to run and appeared to have everything in hand under Jody McGarvey.

But turning into the straight, Darrens Hope looked a big threat before her stamina ran out between the last two.

It was left to Vanillier, who had been ridden patiently by Conor Maxwell, to keep the 2-1 favourite up to his work after the last – having lost a bit of momentum with a slow jump – but he was able to hold on by three-quarters of a length.

The winner was left unchanged at 33-1 by Betfair for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March.

McGarvey said: “It is very tough work out there and it takes a lot of getting.

“It was my first time riding him – and he was super tough, jumped and travelled beautifully. He dug deep up the straight when I needed him and ground it out well to the line.

“I was confident he’d stay, but we went a nice enough gallop for the ground and it was going to be hard work – (so) thankfully I was able to save enough before the turn-in to get me home.”

McGarvey had earlier teamed up with Willie Mullins to win the Future Ticketing Maiden Hurdle on Ciel De Neige, runner-up in the Betfair Hurdle last season at Newbury.

After the favourite’s two-and-a-quarter-length success, at the prohibitive odds of 1-8, Mullins said: “He eventually got his head in front. He did what he was asked to do.

“He’s just a horse that makes life hard on himself. Hopefully he can go on now and progress from that.”

Welsh National card beaten by the weather

Chepstow’s Coral Welsh Grand National meeting has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

The fixture has had no luck down the years on the weather front and once more course officials were forced to admit defeat.

Earlier in the week there had been optimism that the prestigious card, which also features the Grade One Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle, would survive but a further downfall overnight from Storm Bella left the course with patches of false ground.

Clerk of the course Libby O’Flaherty inspected at 7.45am but was left with no choice but to call the meeting off.

“We’ve had another 27mm overnight and this morning, up to 7am when I was walking the track,” said O’Flaherty.

“It’s so annoying as there’s just one area of false ground down the back straight and I was trying to find a way around it but there just isn’t one.”

Speaking later in the morning O’Flaherty confirmed that the meeting would now be run on January 9.

“We’ve rescheduled for January 9. It should be like-for-like but we are just waiting for official confirmation that the card will be exactly the same,” she said.

Limerick’s card on Sunday was also called off due to waterloging while the meeting there on Monday must pass an 8am precautionary inspection following 18mm of overnight rain on already heavy ground.

Monday’s meeting at Leicester was also abandoned due to a waterlogged track following an inspection at 9.30am on Sunday.

Heavy rain overnight had left false patches on already heavy ground.

Colreevy battles to victory in Faugheen Novice Chase

Colreevy dug deep to land the Matchbook Betting Exchange Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick.

The Willie Mullins-trained mare was headed two out, but the 5-1 chance fought back gallantly to deny Gordon Elliott’s Pencilfulloflead by half a length in the Grade One feature.

The winner’s stablemate Asterion Forlonge was the 4-6 favourite, but blundered and exited the race five fences from home – one of two fallers among the five who set out.

Colreevy was taking her chasing record to two from two, and winning rider Danny Mullins said: “It was a good performance. She was always very good to jump at home from day one, and the aim today was a clear round and hopefully we’d be in the mix down over the last two.

“I knew she’d keep galloping – she is very tough, not fast – and once Paul (Townend, on Asterion Forlonge) fell, it opened things up.

“But it still wasn’t going to be easy from there – when the other horse (Pencilfulloflead) joined her it definitely helped.

“There is a good programme for mares nowadays, and the Flynns (owners) will be delighted because they will probably breed from her and she is now a Grade One winner in bumpers and over fences.”

Asterion Forlonge ‘sets the standard’ in Limerick feature

Asterion Forlonge heads a three-strong Willie Mullins team into battle in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick on Saturday.

The Closutton handler has saddled five of the last 10 winners of the Grade One contest, with Faugheen himself raising the roof when getting the better of Samcro 12 months ago.

Asterion Forlonge appears the stable’s first string this time around. The Grade One-winning hurdler impressed on his chasing debut at Punchestown last month and champion jockey Paul Townend takes the mount in preference to riding at Leopardstown.

Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, said: “Right-handed over two and a half miles on soft ground should be right up Asterion Forlonge’s alley.

“He won a Grade One over hurdles last season and he sets the standard without doubt.

“Paul thought he was the best of ours on St Stephen’s Day.”

Asterion Forlonge is joined by a pair of stablemates in Janidil and Colreevy, both of whom are one from one over fences.

“Janidil is a horse I have a lot of time for. He has to show he’s a Grade One horse, but I think this trip on this ground will suit him and his physique is far more suited to fencing than hurdling, so I don’t think Asterion will have it all his own way,” Mullins added.

“Colreevy is a Grade One-winning bumper mare. She was very impressive on her chasing debut at Fairyhouse and I would think there’ll be very few mares that will beat her over fences. It will be interesting to see where she fits in with the geldings.”

Pencilfulloflead represents Gordon Elliott
Pencilfulloflead represents Gordon Elliott (Niall Carson/PA)

The biggest threat to the Mullins trio appears to be the Gordon Elliott-trained Pencilfulloflead, who was last seen beating the high-class Latest Exhibition in the Florida Pearl Novice Chase.

“I’m delighted with how he has taken to fences. He wasn’t a good jumper of hurdles, but he has much more respect for his fences and I thought he jumped very nicely at Punchestown last time,” Elliott told Betfair.

“He has to come back in trip a little bit, but he’s horse with a touch of class and he’s not just an out-and-out stayer, so I’m not too worried about the trip and we know from his runs at Punchestown and Galway this season that he goes well on heavy ground.

“He’s going to need to produce another big performance here, but I think he is capable of doing so. I’m expecting him to go close.”

Joseph O’Brien’s outsider Assemble, who chased home Elliott’s superstar novice Envoi Allen in the Drinmore at Fairyhouse on his latest outing, completes the field.

Asterion Forlonge takes Grade One challenge at Limerick

Asterion Forlonge is one of three runners for Willie Mullins in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick on Saturday.

The Closutton handler has saddled five of the last 10 winners of the Grade One contest, with Faugheen himself bringing the house down when getting the better of Samcro 12 months ago.

Asterion Forlonge appears the stable’s first string this time around, with champion jockey Paul Townend travelling to Limerick for the ride.

The Grade One-winning hurdler impressed on his chasing debut at Punchestown last month and is favourite to follow up.

Mullins also saddles the JP McManus-owned Janidil and the only mare in the field in Colreevy.

Gordon Elliott’s Pencilfulloflead and Assemble from Joseph O’Brien’s yard complete the line-up.

The feature event on day two of Limerick’s Christmas meeting is the Grade Two Lyons Of Limerick Jaguar Land Rover Novice Hurdle, a race that has Faugheen, Penhill and Fury Road among those on the roll of honour.

Elliott fires a twin assault, with Farouk D’alene and Ragnar Lodbrok both declared. That pair are two of three representatives for Gigginstown House Stud along with Henry de Bromhead’s Baptism Of Fire.

Previous course winners Costalotmore and Carrolls Cottage are also in contention for what promises to be an attritional affair run over the best part of three miles.

Exciting Monkfish primed for festive action at Leopardstown

Monkfish is set to be one of the headline acts as Willie Mullins prepares to unleash a formidable bunch of novice chasers over Christmas.

The Rich Ricci-owned six-year-old landed the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and made the perfect start to his chasing career with victory at Fairyhouse in November, winning in a canter.

He is likely to be seen in the Grade One Neville Hotels Novice Chase on the final day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival.

Speaking on call to launch the showpiece fixture, which gets under way on December 26, assistant trainer Patrick Mullins said: “He put in a fabulous performance at Fairyhouse.

“He’s a very tall horse and when he came to the yard he was very light so we didn’t get him out until Punchestown in his bumper season. We just couldn’t get him strong and get condition on him.

Monkfish is already a Cheltenham Festival winner
Monkfish is already a Cheltenham Festival winner (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“We ran in a big field and every time there was a gap he backed out of it so we ended up a little bit far back and had to come around. We got beaten by a good horse in Longhouse Poet.

“Then he got beaten first time last season and we were scratching our heads a bit thinking he maybe wasn’t the horse we thought he was, but he just improved every run after that.

“He won his maiden, then won by 20 lengths down in Thurles and we were wondering did the race fall apart.

“In Cheltenham, what I loved about him, was that when it got tight at the last he put his head down and went into the gap – he’s maturing and learning how to race.

“This year we’re having no problem keeping condition on him. He looks great, good and strong.

“Three miles is obviously no bother to him. We’d be disappointed if he got beaten, but we’ve been disappointed before!”

Blackbow, Energumene and Asterion Forlonge are among the other novice chasers lined up for festive action.

Asterion Forlonge is poised for festive action
Asterion Forlonge is poised for festive action (Niall Carson/PA)

Mullins junior said: “It’s definitely the most depth I can remember us having in the novice chase division.

“Blackbow and Energumene look like they are going to be far superior chasers than they were hurdlers.

“Asterion Forlonge is a Grade One-winning novice hurdler who has now gone over fences.

“We were very disappointed with The Big Getaway (at Navan), but I wouldn’t give up on him just next.

“Janidil is another one that I think will make a superior chaser than hurdler so we’re very excited for the novice chasers.”

The Racing Post Novice Chase is the highlight of the opening day’s action at Leopardstown, and Mullins has nine in the two-mile-one-furlong contest.

Asterion Forlonge is among the big names among the entries, but he could be aimed at the Grade One Faugheen Novice Chase in Limerick on the same day.

Mullins went on: “He was very impressive in Punchestown. He jumps great, he came from Pat Doyle’s and he does a fantastic job with them.

“When he’s jumping down our strip he’s slightly to his right, but nothing terrible. He seemed to jump pretty straight all the way in Punchestown until the last two when he did go right when he was going a stride faster.

“That is going to be something in the back of our minds. He obviously did it quite severely in Cheltenham where you are continually turning down the back straight and nearly always going left. That probably exaggerates it.

“I’d imagine he’ll probably go to Limerick which is right-handed. That’s two and a half miles which is probably more up his street. That would be the most obvious choice for him.

“Energumene was very eyecatching in Gowran. He’s not a horse you would really thought was a two-mile chaser, but Paul (Townend) said it from the first time he schooled him – that the way he jumps he probably can come back in trip and be effective.

“He’s very clever over fences and even though he might not be as quick as some of the other horses, the way he jumps he’s very effective.

“Blackbow was a very good bumper horse, he disappointed over hurdles but seems to be electric over his fences.

“He was an English point-to-pointer, which we’ve had good luck with.

“He likes to get on with it and jumps very fluently.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he or Unexcepted or Energumene ended up as Arkle horses, but they are going to have to step up to Grade One form and prove that they are that level.”

Klassical Dream could return to action at Leopardstown
Klassical Dream could return to action at Leopardstown (Niall Carson/PA)

Mullins also had news of last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Klassical Dream, who has not been seen since finishing last of five in the Matheson Hurdle at the Leopardstown fixture last Christmas.

He said: “We’ve schooled Klassical Dream a few times at home and Paul is very happy with him.

“He seems to respect fences a bit more than he did hurdles. I’m not sure what got into him last year when he just started throwing himself at hurdles in Punchestown and Leopardstown.

“He’ll probably go for a beginners’ chase in Leopardstown.”

Aforementioned too good for Munster National rivals

Aforementioned claimed top honours for Gordon Elliott in the JT McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National at Limerick.

The Cullentra handler saddled two runners in a bid to land a prize he last won with dual Grand National hero Tiger Roll in 2016, with Aforementioned joined by stable companion Roaring Bull.

Given a fine ride by 7lb claimer Gavin Brouder, 6-1 shot Aforementioned battled his way to the front in the straight and saw off the challenge of Portmore Lough by two and a half lengths.

“That’s definitely a career highlight and I grew up dreaming of these big days as a jockey,” said Brouder.

“I had a very bad concussion from a fall (from today’s runner-up Portmore Lough) at the Galway Festival (in July) and I was lucky to just get away with that.

“Today’s race panned out beautifully for him and it happened easily for him.”

My Sister Sarah provided Willie Mullins with a third straight victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cailin Alainn Mares Hurdle.

Willie Mullins and Paul Townend successfully teamed up with My Sister Sarah
Willie Mullins and Paul Townend successfully teamed up with My Sister Sarah (Simon Cooper/PA)

Paul Townend’s mount was the 2-5 favourite to follow in the hoofprints of Robin De Carlow and Listen Dear by claiming this Listed prize and ultimately got the job done with the minimum of fuss, coming home 10 lengths clear of stablemate Shanning.

“The cheek-pieces sharpened up her jumping early on. She got a horrible fall in Leopardstown last year and was brought down in Cheltenham so might have lost her confidence a bit,” said Townend.

“She was entitled to win today and I was impressed with her.”

Rank outsider Formal Order was a 40-1 winner of the Listed Bluegrass Horse Feed Novice Hurdle.

Sean Flanagan was hard at work from the home turn aboard Matthew Smith’s charge, but he responded generously on the run-in to get up by half a length from Fairyhill Run.

Hot favourite Commandingpresence was in a narrow lead when crashing out at the final flight.

Smith said: “I missed what happened at the last, but Sean (Flanagan) said Bryan Cooper (on eventual runner-up Fairyhill Run) thought he had Rachael (Blackmore, on Commandingpresence) beaten. He (Formal Order) rallied well, stayed well and picked up well.

“I told Sean going out not to worry about his price as I thought he beat two good horses the last day.”

Flanagan doubled up in the following Patrickswell Maiden Hurdle, with Noel Meade’s Cask Mate making a successful return from 1,020 days on the sidelines.

The jockey went on to complete a treble aboard Henry de Bromhead’s Visioman in the Limerick Rated Chase. Flanagan was standing in for Rachael Blackmore, who was stood down after that fall in the first race.

Sean Flanagan enjoyed a profitable afternoon
Sean Flanagan enjoyed a profitable afternoon (PA)

“He jumped brilliant and Sean gave him a super ride – it is frustrating for Rachael, but is great for Sean and I’m delighted for the Halsalls (owners),” said De Bromhead.

Regarding Visioman, he added: “It was hard to believe going up the back straight that he could pick up the leader Djingle, but the pace they went, you’d always hope it might happen.

“Today was the plan for the moment and we’ll see what the handicapper thinks. We might give him a break and bring him back for the spring and he could be one for the Topham (at Aintree).”

Blackmore was one of several jockeys in the wars, with Jack Kennedy and Davy Russell both taken to hospital for precautionary x-rays on suspected collarbone and shoulder injuries respectively.