Gordon Elliott was delighted to see Glan claim the RYBO Handicap Hurdle, the highlight on the first day of Fairyhouse’s three-day Easter meeting.
Glan was having just her sixth outing over hurdles having won a maiden at this track back in October before finishing a well-beaten third at Grade Three level subsequently.
She had shown plenty of promise in two subsequent handicap starts and was sent off a 4-1 chance behind eventual unplaced 100-30 favourite Farout in this two-mile heat.
Glan looked up against it jumping the second-last as while she was travelling well, she was in behind horses and had ground to make up, but Mark Walsh managed to weave his way through on the run to the last.
Elliott’s runner edged in front after jumping the final flight and responded to Walsh’s drive to hold La Prima Donna by half a length, with Heia a further short head back in third.
“Mark gave her a lovely ride, it was great. That was probably her day, so we’ll enjoy today,” said Elliott.
“We’ve gotten beat in that race a couple of times over the years and we’ve been placed in it a good few times.
“She’s a nice mare so it was great to win it.”
Noel Meade was full of praise for jockey Jack Kennedy after he guided Bugs Moran (10-1) to victory in the I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Novice Handicap Hurdle Series Final.
Kennedy was partnering the five-year-old for the first time and he delivered Bugs Moran with a perfectly-timed challenge at the last, passing Eric Bloodaxe on the run to the line to win by a length and three-quarters.
“It was great to get Jack. He’s a super rider and it was a pleasure to watch him going around,” said Meade.
“He jumped great for him, stayed well and he loves good ground. The trip was a big help to him and he’s learning on the job.
“I bred him myself, there’s not a whole lot of him – he’s very light and spindly. I actually sold another one to Tomas (Singleton), but he ran so badly the two times he ran I said to him I’d take him back and give him the pick of three. He picked him and I’m delighted for them that he’s won.
“He jumps well and he’ll jump fences too on fast ground. He’ll keep going for a while anyway.”
Jody Townend teamed up with Tony Mullins to lift the Fred Kenny Lifetime Services To Racing Ladies National Handicap Chase with Fox Watch (7-2).
Fox Watch was not totally fluent at the penultimate obstacle, but Townend soon had him back on track and he took advantage as favourite Rightplacerightime faltered in the shadow of the post, prevailing by a neck.
“That’s great, Jody has won the Ladies Derby for us and now the Ladies National,” said Mullins.
“She’s just an unreal rider. He missed the second last and the runner-up missed the last and that was the dividing of it.
“We’re looking at a three-mile-seven-furlong race on the last day of Punchestown. It’s a big ask to go over three miles three times in one month, but if he pulls out fresh that’s what we are thinking.
“He’s a super jumper and a very sound horse, maybe he’ll turn into a proper National horse someday.”
Vaucelet (10-11 favourite) won the Frank & Teresa O’Reilly Memorial Hunters Chase for Jamie Codd and trainer David Christie, while Whatsavailable (3-1 co-favourite) was a game winner of the Mongey Communications Maiden Hurdle for Mouse Morris.
Echoes Of Family (7-1) landed the BoyleSports Mares Handicap Chase with Jetara (11-2) making a victorious debut for Jessica Harrington in the closing Jetaway.ie Irish EBF Mares INH Flat Race.