Crossgar trainer Colin Mc Bratney supplied a welcomed local success at the MB McGrady and Co Accountants race in the final fixture of the year at Downpatrick racecourse writes Joe Kavanagh.
Herbiegoesbannas had attempted to make all coming clear of the last hurdle and was fighting out the finish with Electricitywork prior to Sean Flanagan delivering a determined challenge on Balgowlah (supported from 25’s to 7/1) to prevail in the MB McGrady and Co Accountants Handicap Hurdle.
McBratney said: “I am delighted, but I feel sorry for jockey Donagh Meyler who got a suspension last week off him – the horse got into a bit of interference coming into the straight (in Navan) and flew home. Donagh got off him and said ‘if I ride him again he will win’. He’s only four and he is a tough, little horse. We bought him cheaply for a syndicate and I’d say we’d be going for the Down Royal festival with Balgowlah.”
Day Russell aboard Three Is Company has dedicated the opener from the front and appeared to have stable companion Multifactorial to beat only for Johnathan Moore to produce the Gavin Cromwell-trained Bay Ambition on the wide outside to snatch victory. Locally trained Greenandwhitearmy had every chance when unseating his rider at the last. Cromwell said: “She ran a blinder the first day in Roscommon and it looked an obvious race there today with the step up in trip.”
Russell recorded his first winner since returning from injury on the Gordon Elliott-trainedDefinite Plan despite an absence of 509 days. The top jockey got a dream run up the inside to beat the front running Cherokee Bill which displaced the Mullins-trained Blue Jacaranda as favourite. Elliott said: “He hadn’t been showing much at home so we said we would give him a run and see where we are. He won snug and he might to England for a novice hurdle.”
Father and son duo, trainer and jockey – Philip and Luke Dempsey combined to land the Aviator Hurdle when Persian Wind made all for an easy success and first victory for two years. Favourite Tiger Twenty Two filled third with a slow jump three from home hindering his chance. Dempsey Senior said: “It suited him today, he got the run of the race. We’ll tip away with him, he’s been a great servant and has won plenty of prize money. He has won a few races.”
The featured Molson Coors Hurdle saw just a trio of horses go to the start and was reduced to a duo when Three Wise Men unseated his rider three from home. The Willie Mullins-trained Quartz Du Rheu impressed when making all too readily denying Elwood – a half-brother to top novice Delta Work which has the Maze festival feature chase as his target.
The winner always travelled and jumped well to record a facile victory with Mark Walsh in the saddle. Walsh said: “It was very straightforward – he was well in at the weights. I’d be disappointed if he didn’t do that. He’s only a four-year-old and it was a good little race for Willie to pick out for him.”
The Eoin Doyle-trained Stylish Moment with Philip Enright aboard sprang a 20/1 surprise – leading three from home and holding the challengers close home. Enright said: “He jumped and travelled well and he stayed on up the hill well.”
The last race of the year at the course developed into a match after the third last as Tara Mia and Our Bonus went head-to-head, however, the last named which appeared to be travelling best fell at the penultimate fence and with the final fence omitted due to an earlier faller was left clear to win for trainer Tom Gibney and jockey Darragh O’Keefe.
Open To The World supported from 7/1 to joint favourite flew home late to finish second. Gibney said: “You don’t always get your just rewards but she did today.”
Jockey Sean Flanaghan riding McBratney’s Quiet Account fell at the last hurdle and he suststained a significant injury requiring him to be transferred to hospital in Belfast.