Horse Week: Odds favourite denied by a neck at the line in the opening race at Downpatrick

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THE leading trio broke clear of the field four from home and the principal pair alternated in the lead after the last with the John McConnell trained, partnered by Ben Harvey, denying odds favourite, Big Stage, by a neck at the line in the first race at Downpatrick.

McConnell said: said: “That’s why we put him away at the end of last year to wait for better ground.

“He had been in good form at home. Obviously, I thought we might have been running for second or third today, but he has run well. He is probably going to be a chaser really.

“We’ll see what we do with him, he might have a run in a novice hurdle. He’ll be going chasing as well. He stays well so we didn’t want to let it turn into a sprint. At the same time, he doesn't do much when he hits the front and he didn’t do much there.”

Sansrisk, trained by Philip Dempsey with top amateur Finny Maguire in the saddle, makes all to beat favourite Ellen Kelly in the concluding bumper. (Pic: Freelance)Sansrisk, trained by Philip Dempsey with top amateur Finny Maguire in the saddle, makes all to beat favourite Ellen Kelly in the concluding bumper. (Pic: Freelance)
Sansrisk, trained by Philip Dempsey with top amateur Finny Maguire in the saddle, makes all to beat favourite Ellen Kelly in the concluding bumper. (Pic: Freelance)

Quiet Incredible, trained by Dermot McLaughlin with Patrick O’Brien aboard, lead at the second last and kept on gamely to repel the strong challenge of Dinoland close to home in the handicap hurdle.

The winner was supported from 33s to 11/1.

McLaughlin said: “He stayed at it well. He (Paddy O'Brien) said he travelled well and finished out the race well.

“The better ground and cheek pieces combination helped. He was running over the winter and a lot of mine like nice ground.

Redwood Queen trained by Charles Byrnes with son Philip in the saddle lands a gamble in the mares handicap hurdle. (Pic: Freelance)Redwood Queen trained by Charles Byrnes with son Philip in the saddle lands a gamble in the mares handicap hurdle. (Pic: Freelance)
Redwood Queen trained by Charles Byrnes with son Philip in the saddle lands a gamble in the mares handicap hurdle. (Pic: Freelance)

“Paddy’s 7lb (claim) is a good seven and it worked out well.”

The winning owner, who works in the yard, also owned Irish Grand National winner Freewheel Dylan.

The going after the second race was changed to firm and appeared to suit point-to-point winner Going Live trained by Gordon Elliott in the Gerry Hannity Memorial Hurdle with his son former jockey now a racing television presenter on hand to present the trophy.

A local success looked likely as Step Out made significant improvement and landed in in front over the last only to be out battled in the straight by Jordan Gainford on the winner.

Another exhibition of the talents of jockey Keith Donoghue when making all to win the Beginners chase with the winner trained by his brother Ian Donoghue. (Pic: Freelance)Another exhibition of the talents of jockey Keith Donoghue when making all to win the Beginners chase with the winner trained by his brother Ian Donoghue. (Pic: Freelance)
Another exhibition of the talents of jockey Keith Donoghue when making all to win the Beginners chase with the winner trained by his brother Ian Donoghue. (Pic: Freelance)

Ian ‘Buster’ Amond representing the trainer said: “I’m not sure what’s next – Jason said he was always handy and travelled well on the ground and they went a good gallop. He was always confident of winning on the downhill run.

“He was bought for chasing and we’ll see how he comes out of tonight. It was an ideal start for him.”

Not May appeared set for victory in the mares handicap hurdle, however, the strongly supported Redwood Queen, trained by Charles Byrnes with son Philip steering, produced the better speed in the straight to score.

Keith Donoghue, who had been enjoying his best ever season until a broken thumb ruled him out of action including the Punchestown Festival, bounced back with a dazzling front running display in the handicap chase aboard O’Faolains Glory on her chasing debut and trained by his brother Ian, while the runner-up was an eye catcher running on from a long way back to threaten the winner but had to settle for second. Donoghue said: “She has a good schooling over fences – I thought at the last I would win easy but was glad to see the line at the finish. It’s nice to get back with a winner – the break was not so bad it was the cut on the thumb and I needed a piece of wired inserted to keep it stable.”

Quite Incredible, trained by Dermot McLaughlin and partnered by Patrick O‘Brien, pictured in second last prior to winning the handicap hurdle. (Pic: Freelance)Quite Incredible, trained by Dermot McLaughlin and partnered by Patrick O‘Brien, pictured in second last prior to winning the handicap hurdle. (Pic: Freelance)
Quite Incredible, trained by Dermot McLaughlin and partnered by Patrick O‘Brien, pictured in second last prior to winning the handicap hurdle. (Pic: Freelance)

The locally trained Welsh Saint made a brave attempt to make all in the three-mile handicap chase but after landing in front over the last the JP McManus owned Jump The Shark trained by Gavin Cromwell and supported from 8s to 15/8 favourite landed a gamble and was able to canter past the post under a hand and heels ride from Keith Donoghue to give the rider who finish third in the jump jockey title championship a double on the night.

Donoghue said: “He was a bit slow coming down the hill – he’s a big horse and hopefully will improve again.”

The Philip Dempsey trained San Risk, with the very talented amateur Finny Maguire in the saddle, readily beat favourite Ellen Kelly trained by Champion trainer Willie Mullins in the concluding bumper.

Dempsey said: “She is probably unlucky that she didn't get a bumper by now, she was running in very good company and just had a few hard luck stories.

“She had a good run over hurdles and we said we would probably keep her a novice for next season.”

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