Black Benny is picture perfect in thrilling finish
Black Benny triumphed in a dramatic photo finish in last night's Down Royal feature, the Kerry Foods Rated Hurdle.
The Shane Broderick-trained Black Benny - partnered by Denis O'Regan - prevailed over Mai Fitzs Jack with disappointing favourite Prickly filling third having had every chance.
Black Benny cantered into the lead after Mai Fitzs Jack had jumped left at the penultimate hurdle having attempted to make all.
O'Regan, retained jockey to owner Barry Connell, said: "It's great to ride a winner for Shane - he's done a great job with this horse.
"I wasn't sure what he would find coming down the hill but he did it well."
Dodgybingo, trained by Noel Meade with Sean Flanagan aboard, proved the very easy winner of the opening juvenile hurdle.
The well supported favourite made all the running to score despite demolishing the final flight.
The Navan trainer said: "He has been staying on and we just thought the way he stayed on that we would make more use of him today.
"He got a very easy lead today. Sean got on very well with him - he's a lovely horseman.
"We have been schooling him over hurdles since he was a two-year-old.
"We ran him over a mile in Galway and the jockey came in and said 'I think you've made a mistake, it's a mile and a half or further he wants!'
"We ran him over a mile and a quarter twice and we thought he wasn't staying on but I don't think he was right at the time so hopefully he'll win one on the flat.
"He'll mix it anyway. He's rated 68 on the flat so we'll try and win a handicap with him over a longer trip. There's a winners hurdle race at Listowel and I'll look at that."
Former champion jockey Paul Townend replaced Ruby Walsh on the Willie Mullins trained Bobarlee in the mares hurdle, the champion jockey having taken a heavy fall the previous evening at Bellewstown.
The favourite duly won with authority having jumped like a handicapper and quickened well when asked to challenge.
Townend said: "She was probably the best horse in the race.
"It was a pity about Ruby and the mare (Muthaza was fatally injured in Thursday's fall)."
Frank Towey representing the owners - a four-man Dublin-based syndicate - said: "Absolutely delighted. Willie Mullins was hopeful. He said if she doesn't make any mistakes she should be bang there."
The handicap hurdle supplied a blanket finish with six horses in contention close home but the Robert Murphy-trained Silverpockets - with Mikey Fogarty aboard - came between horses to deny 33/1 shot Deputy Consort near the line.
Fogarty said: "It was like a Coral Cup over the last two."
Peregine Run landed a gamble (16/1 to 7/2) when easily claiming the Tayto Hurdle.
Vote Of Confidence won the Coca Cola Handicap Hurdle under Jack Kennedy.
Trainer Gordon Elliott said: "He's in Downpatrick on Monday."