Photo finishes at Downpatrick

Downpatrick races BR Farm
WINNERS ENCLOSURE: Top jockey Mark Walsh, pictured in winners enclosure after landing the opener at Downpatrick. (FW36-514SO) PICTURES: Shaun O’Dea

PARIS Texas’, trained by Joseph O’Brien for JP McManus, proved the facile winner of the opener at the Downpatrick Ladies Day meeting on Monday, August 27. Partnered by Mark Walsh, the winner ran third for most of the race and a quartet held claims going to the final flight, before the winner joined leader ‘Silver Star’ and went clear to assert and open his account over hurdles.

Walsh said: “It was a poor enough race, he’s rated 112 and got away with it. He has been showing plenty of form in his last few runs. It was a weak race and he got through it. That’s his grade, he’s 112 and hopefully he can go a bit higher.”

FAN: Left, Danny Mullins pictured with a young fan at Downpatrick Racecourse. (FW36-513SO)

McManus was denied a brace at the local track, when ‘Gentleman Duke’ was caught on the line and denied by a nose (in a photo finish) by the fast finishing ‘Jack Slade’ in the handicap chase. The winner, trained by Noel Meade, with Jonathon Moore aboard as stable jockey, Sean Flanagan is currently side-lined.

Moore said: “I could see Barry’s lad (‘Gentleman Duke’) was idling up the hill and I was staying going and probably caught him a little bit on the hop. I didn’t get by him as easy as I thought I was going to. Lucky winner today, thank God!”

‘Muroor’, trained by Tom McCourt and partnered by Conor Maxwell, gained compensation when winning the handicap hurdle. A winner at the last meeting, only to be disqualified when the jockey weighed in light, challenged the front running ‘Bective Cave’ after the last to prevail.

Tom McCourt said: “It was a bit of a sickener the last day. He loves these type of tracks. I was going to go to Tramore, but he was after having two runs in a week, so I said I would wait for this. He’s getting it together a bit now. Hopefully we’ll come back up here next month. I’d say here suits him better with the stiff finish. It’s a pity it’s not two on the trot now.”

‘Roi du Dubai’ made all under Mark Bolger to claim the Giltspur Hurdle and repel the late challenge of the well supported local hope ‘The Jam Man’. The John McConnell trained winner was supplementing success at Down Royal in June.

McConnell said: “He jumped left (early) and it’s not really his track. We might go left-handed next time, even though both of his wins have been at right-handed tracks. He got quite a bad injury in Bellewstown. He stood on the rail and the Chifney bridle slashed through his tongue and he cut about 80% of his tongue. We had to get it stitched up – he’s a tough horse to come back from that.”

Gordon Elliott, leading trainer at the track, recorded success when ‘Present In Court’ prevailed in a photo finish with champion jockey, Davy Russell seen to excellent advantage. The winner was only fourth, with considerable ground to make up, jumping at last, as ‘Biddy The Boss’ appeared the likely winner, only to be caught on the line.

Elliott said: “I thought he was beat everywhere, I thought he was beat even crossing the line! He was flat out the whole way.” Elliott doubled up on the day when ‘Caltex’ gave a fine display of jumping to land the beginners chase with Jack Kennedy in the saddle.

Elliott said: “He was entitled to do that on his Galway run. He is in at Doncaster Sales, but I’m not sure whether he will go or not. We might hold onto him for another while.”

PHOTO FINISH: Right, ‘Jack Slade’ [Jonathan Moore] lands the handicap chase in a photo finish at Downpatrick. (FW36-512SO)

Champion trainer, Willie Mullins, out of luck with his runners over hurdles earlier in the day, enjoyed a winner when son Patrick partnered ‘Royal Rendezvous’ to a wide margin success in the finale. The winner is owned Dr Peter Fitzgerald from Crumlin, Co. Antrim, who owns Randox Laboratories with the company the current sponsors of the Aintree Grand National.

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