After three blank days, the Irish racing circus rolled into Sligo on Thursday.
The annual Student Race Day certainly added to the crowd, atmosphere and noise levels at this north western outpost.
While Gordon Elliott was sending out a remarkable five winners at Perth, Moonlight Escape kept the home fires burning when taking the opener under Davy Russell.
Generally a good result for the bookies, but some of the each way shrewdies lined their pockets in the nine runner affair, with 16/1 being clipped to “twelves” at the off.
The winner had already chalked up bumper and hurdles success so this mares beginners chase victory shows here to be quite versatile.
Her trainer will certainly place her to good effect in handicaps, but runner up, 2/1 fancy Dawn Shadow, probably has more potential.
The J P McManus owned Thecraicisninety landed a real touch – 11/4 to 6/4 jolly – in the next.
Mark Walsh took no prisoners here, and this front runner had them well strung out crossing the line.
Lake Takapuna had, like Moonlight Escape in the first, some useful bits of form to recommend him, but again nothing that would have you knocking your bookie off his perch in a rush to get on.
Since Jim Culloty gave up training, he has been transferred to Robbie McNamara and was nibbled at in the ring, 12/1 to 10’s.
David Mullins took his time, and delivered him at just the right moment to gamely beat Eight Till Late by a neck.
Major Destination was probably the best backed horse of the day, and Jonathan Moore seemed to have timed things to perfection on the 5/4 hotpot.
Always in the firing line, they eased past long time leader Justmemyselfandi before the last.
But then – perhaps distracted by the student cheering from the stands – the favourite wobbled slightly near the line.
And much to the horror of favourite backers Adam Short got a renewed effort from 11/2 chance Justmemyselfandi on the far rail and won by half a length.
Another winner for back in form trainer Liz Doyle, with first time headgear possibly helping.
And it would be no surprise to see Major Destination similarly attired next time out.
Another good week for Declan’s Irish Racing Service with Swingbridge 17/2; Its All Guesswork 7/2 (won 4/5); Only The Brace 7/2 (w 3/1); Make My Heart Fly evens and Montalbano 10/11 (w 4/7) and each way Kings Field 9/1 (placed).