Student Race Day was certainly a lively affair at Cork on Thursday with plenty of buzz, colour and atmosphere.
There was obviously a special welcome for local hero Paul Townend after his superb Gold Cup win and he responded in style when steering the rapidly improving Ronald Pump to victory in the three miles handicap hurdle.
The 5/1 shot scored with considerable authority and trainer Matthew Smith was considering Aintree and Punchestown options afterwards. There is a similar three miler at the Liverpool track which could prove made to measure for this progressive sort.
Local trainer Jonathan Sweeney landed a real touch in the concluding mares bumper with homebred Roseys Hollow on whom all sorts of fancy prices were taken in the morning and she won as she pleased at 13/2 under Liz Lalor.
Sweeney won a Grade 3 Mares Bumper at the Punchestown Festival with Minutestomidnight who won this race along the way and he could follow the same path again with Roseys Hollow though of course she could be sold in the meantime.
Switching back to hurdles did the trick for Joseph O’Brien’s 6/4 favourite Landofhopeandglory who didn’t set the world alight over fences. He beat course specialist Dr Mikey, but, surprisingly perhaps, Frank Berry, Racing Manager for winning owner J P McManus said afterwards that the winner might go back over the larger obstacles again.
Declan’s Irish Racing Service continues to reward followers with Band Of Outlaws 13/2 (w 5/1); Klassical Dream 6/1, Westerner Point 5/1, Jury Duty 3/1, Fennos Storm 9/4; Voix Des Tiep 9/4 (w 11/8), Final List 15/8, Darasso 7/4 (w evens) and Burning Ambition 13/8 all recent winners as well as each way gems Diamond Turf 20/1, Cuneo 16/1, Josies Orders 10/1 (all placed).