DERRYLIN trainer David Christie’s long trip to Tramore on Monday, April 19 was rewarded when his pair of runners recorded a double.
‘Blue Markie’ (9/2 to 18/5) supplied the first leg, when making all in the handicap chase, scoring easily by an extending 15 lengths in the hands of Darragh O’Keefe.
O’Keeffe said: “I had ridden him a few times before and I was third on him one day in Navan behind ‘Dreal Deal’. I’m surprised it has taken him this long to get his head in front. He is a brilliant jumper. He travelled great and jumped great and the blinkers were a big help to him today. The plan was to be very positive and David said to just keep the revs up. I’m delighted for his owners that he is after getting his head in front now and I think they will have a bit of fun with him for the summer. I think the nicer ground and the blinkers (first time) were a big help to him.”
‘Winged Leader’ (evens favourite), partnered by Barry O’Neill, the current All-Ireland Champion Point to Point rider, adopted similar tactics when going to the front from flag fall to win the concluding hunterchase in ready fashion after a superior display of jumping. The local horse is a seven times points winner and owned by Portstewart hotelier, John Hegarty in partnership with Jennifer O’Kane, who also owns ‘Blue Markie’.
Christie said: “I’m delighted for John and Jennifer, as they have supported me since I started training and both horses were entitled to their victories today. The horses are in great form at the minute. They were probably a wee shade off over the winter time, but now they are all really well and it showed today. Today, I said to Barry to just dictate it. I see him as a horse for some of the big races next year. We will see how he comes out of this. He might go to Stratford or he could go to Punchestown Champion Hunterchase. Punchestown is always very nice ground. He was second in Stratford as a novice and the horse who finished third that day was second in Topham last week. It took us four and a half hours to get here, but it’ll be an easier journey on the way up!”