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.”