Downpatrick’s Family Fun fixture attracted a record crowd however, pre-race expectations that Gordon Elliott would record multiple winners saw the Co Meath handler go home with a sole success but bringing his total to eleven in the Horse First sponsored Leading Trainer Award at the venue.
The Elliott trained, Cecil Corbett, with Paul Carberry in the saddle very easily landed the opening maiden hurdle at Downpatrick - cantering into the lead before the last.
The winning trainer said: “He served to win that and won snug enough. I’ll look for a novice hurdle next – that would be the plan especially in Britain.”
Paul Carberry picked up a two day ban for his use of the whip ruling the top jockey out of the Galway Plate at the end of the month.
The Bosses Cousin over jumped and fell at the first flight in the one winner hurdle leaving Rae’s Creek with Mark Walsh aboard in the lead and the pair thereafter made all the running to win.
The winner was strongly pressed in the closing stages by the Elliott trained, Vercingetorix which had run second but the Jessica Harrington horse prevailed by a neck.
Walsh said: “He did it well for only his third run over hurdles – I would have preferred a lead. He’s a big galloping horse. He could make into a “Galway” horse.”
Trainer Tony Martin got on the scoreboard to supply a locally owned success with Twenty Four Hours. The winner is owned by Lisburn based, Thomas Steele - son of the late Tommy Steele, a leading equine vet who received an OBE for his work and brother of Robert also a vet and a former top amateur ride and Bruce a leading equine vet.
Paul Townend, a former Irish Champion jump jockey lead from halfway and repelled the late challenge of the runner-up, Idee Emery by half a length.
Martin said: “We had the choice Killarney or here and the owner being local we opted for this race. She’s a very well bred mare – a half-sister to Living Next Door (Irish Grand National winner). She’ll be destined for stud but we might try to win a novice chase with her – she’s already a points winner but we want to keep her in one piece.”
Gordon Elliott appeared to have secured his second winner of the afternoon as An Capall Mor lead three from home and shot into a clear lead on the downhill run.
However, Show And Go under an inspired ride from Andrew Lynch overhauled the leader close to the line to score.
Lynch in the absence of trainer, Henry De Bromhead said: “He jumped a bit high over the hurdles. I kept at him as I knew there was more left the way he was jumping and thought I had a chance of catching the one in front. He probable wants further than today’s trip.”
Team Elliott again had to settle for second in the long distance hurdle with Ultimate Horseman, which having made most of the running was passed by Top Of The Town.
Paul Townend, who was competing a double, said: “He hung a bit and probably needs to go the other direction.”
Winning trainer Charles Bryne said: “He stays and is what he is.”
He further advised that the winner is named after the pub were the winning syndicate of owners meet.
Albarta gained a repeat success at the course – this time over hurdles for Galway trainer, Val O’Brien and jockey Luke Dempsey to follow up victory at the venue last month.
O’Brien, who was recording a cross the card double with a winner at Killarney, said: “We might come back here as there’s a saying you come back and dig where you found gold. Luke gave him a brilliant ride. I don’t think he would get into the handicaps at Galway.”
Gordon Elliott for the third successive race had to settle for the runner-up spot. The Adrian McGuinness trained Oakfield Rose sprang a 25/1 shock in the bumper with the trainer advising the winning rider – Luke McGuinness was his nephew and was registering his first victory and he intends to become a claiming rider .
“She was a little keen early and I was eager to get her out but I thought it was best to hold on to her as long as possible. I had a feeling she would be in the mix today,” he said.