Ladies take centre stage at Downpatrick meeting

Best Dressed Lady at Downpatrick's Ladies Day meeting was Angela Quinn (second left) from Mullaghbawn, Armagh. Lauren Brown (second right) from Comber was judged the winner of the best hat competition. Included is current Miss Northern Ireland Leanne McDowell (left) and Down Rose Claire O'Neill (right).
Best Dressed Lady at Downpatrick's Ladies Day meeting was Angela Quinn (second left) from Mullaghbawn, Armagh. Lauren Brown (second right) from Comber was judged the winner of the best hat competition. Included is current Miss Northern Ireland Leanne McDowell (left) and Down Rose Claire O'Neill (right).

Downpatrick’s Ladies Day fixture attracted another large crowd while the competitions for the ladies saw record entries.

The Best Dressed prize of a luxury Mediterranean cruise was won by Angela Quinn – a speech therapist from Newry, while the Winners Alright Upstyle Hair competition winner was Lauren Brown, from Comber, who landed a trip to London for two. Her hair stylist was rewarded with a case of champagne.

Drumhart leads over the penultimate fence with the winner, Phantom Prince [Robbie Power] in second.

Drumhart leads over the penultimate fence with the winner, Phantom Prince [Robbie Power] in second.

Iffjack attempted to make all the running in the opening maiden hurdle but Killiney Court with Mikey Fogarty aboard, which had tracked the leader throughout, readily jumped into the lead at the penultimate to register a facile victory.

Winning trainer Colm Murphy said: “He has just bumped into one or two too good previously. He’s in again on Friday at Kilbeggan and could go again - I’ll see how he is. I think he will probably go chasing sooner rather than later. He will give the owner a bit of fun.”

Kilclispeen and Victoryrowe had an epic battle to the line in the long distance maiden hurdle with the former owned by JP McManus and trained by Aidan O’Brien prevailing by three parts of a length with Barry Geraghty in the saddle.

Ultimate Horseman lead from halfway but having started favourite yet again disappointed and faded to finish fourth while the winner lead at the second last and although just headed after the final flight rallied bravely to score.

Best Dressed Lady at Downpatrick's Ladies Day meeting was Angela Quinn (second left) from Mullaghbawn, Armagh. Lauren Brown (second right) from Comber was judged the winner of the best hat competition. Included is current Miss Northern Ireland Leanne McDowell (left) and Down Rose Claire O'Neill (right).

Best Dressed Lady at Downpatrick's Ladies Day meeting was Angela Quinn (second left) from Mullaghbawn, Armagh. Lauren Brown (second right) from Comber was judged the winner of the best hat competition. Included is current Miss Northern Ireland Leanne McDowell (left) and Down Rose Claire O'Neill (right).

Geraghty said: “He battled well. He’s a grand sort and will make a staying type. He’ll jump a fence in time.”

Geraghty opted for different tactics in the handicap hurdle when going off in front and establishing a clear lead on Chamonix.

The tactics looked like paying dividends as favourite Mr Mulliner was ten lengths behind the leading quartet running downhill. However jockey Derek Fox on Mr Mulliner timed his run to perfection having looked at one stage as if he would be lucky to be placed at all.

A delighted winning trainer, Mark McNiff, said: “They got very well strung out and he’s only a small horse with a big weight. I’m delighted. He’ll probably come back here next time for a chase.”

Racegoers were treated to another thrilling finish in the Best Dressed Lady Hurdle. Sounds Of Thunder had made all the running until headed by Feel The Air prior to the penultimate flight and looked the winner until Don Vincenzo which had stalked the runner-up swept through between horses close to the line.

Winning trainer Colin Bowe, the leading points handler for several seasons, said: “He’ll probably go for a little chase now. Today’s race was run to suit him and he enjoys that good ground.”

The Beginners Chase produced another rousing finish with Phantom Prince denying Dawn Flyer by a length. The pair improved in unison on the downhill run to overhaul the leader, Drunhart.

Power said: “It was hard work. He’s not a scopey sort and took time to warm up. His class saw him through. He had schooled well but careful.”

The handicap chase was another cliff hanging finish with Cnoc Na Sioga beating the locally trained, Heavenly Brook by half a length. Winning jockey, Andrew Lynch dismounted after the line.

Winning owner/trainer, John Ryan said: “I hope he’s alright. Andrew thought he was a bit sore after the line. He’s a smashing horse. He’s won a few hurdle races but that was his first over fences.”

The Alan Fleming trained, Boris De Blae with Katie Walsh aboard proved the convincing winner of the concluding bumper.