Cheltenham Champion Bumper winner Relegate got beaten in her first effort over hurdles in controversial circumstances at Punchestown, but it all came right at nearby Naas on Tuesday.
Well, just about, for the 4/5 hot pot was all out under a brilliant Ruby Walsh ride to beat Caravation 9/1 and market rival Barrington Court 13/8.
Willie Mullins was impressed by Ruby’s inspired ride: “I thought he was very good as she probably didn’t help him over the last two flights when she was probably going a bit too fast” he said.
Mind you, if she’s finding mares maiden hurdles that difficult to win, we’d probably best not get carried away just yet about her potential.
Mullins feels though that stepping up in trip from two miles will be a big help, though he will keep her to mares races for the time being.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Mullins though as another 4/5 fancy Face The Facts was beaten by 14/1 shot Embrun Mitja representing Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore in the opener.
And in the beginners chase de Bromhead and Blackmore again defied Mullins and Paul Townend when A Plus Tard 4/1 stayed on stoutly to beat even money jolly Duc Des Genievres.
It was good to see Arthur Moore back in the winners enclosure when the Barry Geraghty ridden At Your Ease 6/4 won a maiden hurdle for J P McManus.
Moore said: “He will go straight over fences now, he’s a staying chaser in the making. That two miles was plenty sharp enough for him but his class saw him through.
McManus also scored with the Joseph O’Brien trained Punches Cross 7/1 who scooted home under Mark Walsh in the handicap chase.
Joseph sounded more relieved than anything. “He’s been disappointing but things worked out for him today.”
“He’s not a fella I’d be trusting with my life but it’s nice that he’s after winning a race now” he explained.
Clearly not one for the notebook then.
There’s no doubt that Joseph – who has trained well over 100 winners on the flat this year – is now a real threat to the traditional Willie Mullins/Gordon Elliott domination of Irish jumps racing and that can only be a good thing.
Sometimes though the layers – and the players – can be so obsessed with the “big three” that great value can be found elsewhere and nowhere was that more evident than in the concluding bumper.
The Gavin Cromwell trained Jeremys Flame had posted two very solid efforts in hot Galway bumpers yet incredibly she was chalked up at 16/1 in places in the morning.
At the track she was 12/1 early doors and that was quickly mopped up, she touched “eights” and was sent off a 9/1 chance.
She made every post a winning one for Mark O’Hare – who has been around for quite a while but is red hot in bumpers just now – to win almost eased down.
And Cromwell thinks she’ll be even better when the ground turns really soft but she’ll not be rushed and probably won’t race too often this season.
Declan’s Irish Racing Service is really on the ball right now and recent winners were Jeremys Flame 16/1 (won 9/1) and a stunning four out of four at Dundalk last Friday – Rag Tatter 12/1 (won 8/1); Beau Warrior 4/1; Lady De Vesci 10/3 (won 5/2) and Alfredo Arcano 15/8 (won 6/4). Other recent winners were Dunvegan 7/2 (won 3/1), Harrie 9/4 (won 4/5); Min 6/5 (won evens) and Tornado Flyer evens (won 4/9).
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