Smyth’s still on a fine run of form

"01st  Cheers Buddy   ( 8 , royal blue, white epaulettes )   and  C.D. Hayes   - Trainer : Lee Smyth  -  Owner : Miss Y Lowe"
"01st Cheers Buddy ( 8 , royal blue, white epaulettes ) and C.D. Hayes - Trainer : Lee Smyth - Owner : Miss Y Lowe"

Maralin trainer Lee Smyth hit top form on Derby day at Down Royal last month when Cheers Buddy provided a local winner.

The Moira handler made two cross channel sorties last week at Hamilton and Doncaster with his representatives running well.

Penelope Pitstop with Ulster born Samantha Bell, now based successfully in Britain, aboard and Shrewd partnered by Megan Carberry – younger sister of top jumps jockey, Paul Carberry and top amateur, Nina – in the saddle, both finished runner-up in their respective races but it was a return to home soil that provided another winner last week.

Maze victor Cheers Buddy turned out again quickly at Bellewstown on Friday evening having run at Hamilton on Tuesday and belied the three day turn around in racing to win easily with Billy Lee steering the Ulster runner to success in the mile handicap.

In the final furlong the pair produced a decisive late flourish on the outside to relegate Versilia Gal to runner-up in the final 100 yards.

The in-form local trainer said: “He ran at Hamilton on Tuesday but met a wall of horses and got no run. Joe Fanning rode him and said he’d taken nothing out of himself and to run him again here. He seems now to be as consistent as he was on the all-weather. I’d like to freshen him up but he’s in such good form that we may go again soon.”

Trainer Gordon Elliott was making his own bit of history on “The Hill of Crockafotha” on Thursday when registering seven winners on single day having secured a quartet of winners at Perth and saddling a hat trick of scorers at Bellewstown.

Elliott’s four winners at the Scottish venue were The Absent Mare, Broughton’s Bandit, Russian Regent and Bank Bonus - three of them partnered by Richard Johnson favourite to be the new Champion Jump Jockey in Britain following AP McCoy retiring and having finished runner-up to McCoy fifteen times in the Champion title race.

Mustadrik, Be Seeing You and Moonmeister scored at the trainer’s local track after which Elliott said: “ It’s been a great day. I always say I’ve the best staff in the country, good owners and good facilities. We’ll enjoy today - we’ll enjoy tonight, too.”

Barry Geraghty, who fractured his shin bone at Downpatrick earlier this year, returned to action at Limerick on Sunday in his new role as retained jockey to JP McManus.

The Michael Hourigan trained Hash Brown supplied a second place, but with the Galway Festival quickly approaching at the end of the month, the new partnership should be in the winner’s enclosure on a regular basis.