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Brian Sox it to them at Down Royal

By Ron McKnight

Punters had to wait until the concluding bumper for a local success at Down Royal last night when Our Sox duly obliged for Downpatrick trainer Brian Hamilton and owner Denis Reddan with top Banbridge based amateur Stephen Clements in the saddle.

The winner battled best in a blanket finish to score by half a length and Hamilton said: "He ran into traffic problems last time at Roscommon, finishing fourth. He's a nice horse but still green. Stephen gave him a great ride and he's currently for sale."

Irish Champion trainer Willie Mullins opened the scoring when joint favourite Verawal proved an easy winner of the Juvenile Hurdle with only five runners turning out. The other joint favourite, Cabarete, led for most of the race, closely tracked by the winner which led on the downhill run and had the race in safe keeping thereafter.

Storm Away justified trainer, Pat Flynn's trip from County Waterford as clear cut winner of the Mares Hurdle with Davy Russell aboard. The winner was always a close third but led three from home where West Montan unseated Shane Shortall. However Storm Away always appeared to be going best and readily held the placed horses.

Pires, tipped in this column yesterday, claimed the feature race for trainer, Tony Martin with principal rival, the locally trained Sir Ector, defecting due to the going.

Back To Balloo attempted to make all but was swallowed up two home by the challengers.

The winning trainer said: "He loves top of the ground. He was rated to win the race and Shane gave him a good ride. We will continue to mix it flat, hurdles and fences with him."

Jockey Shortall added: "I rode him with loads of confidence as he was the class horse. He travelled very well. The gap closed on the inner before two out so I switched him out. I got a great jump at the last. He won here in 2012 and he enjoys it here."

Gavin Cromwell trained, Christ's Call supplied a 20/1 shock result in the Handicap hurdle under rider Danny Benson. A fleet of horses had chances at the elbow prior to the winner asserting at the final flight after five horses approached the last in a line.

The wining Navan based trainer said: "He's a real flat horse and the ground is the key. He's won and been placed seven times. The owner lives in Dundalk so we will probably aim at the all-weather there."

Highly regarded Clondaw Farmer was the snug winner of the Maiden Hurdle in the hands of top jockey, Davy Russell. The winner led three from home as runner-up Ram Them All challenged strongly on the inside.

However, Russell had always enough horse power to register a comfortable victory on his hurdling debut. Winning trainer Shark Hanlon who also supplied the third placed horse said: "You always worry first time over hurdles and he was a bit 'leary' in front. He has just come back to himself in the past 10 days after Galway. He won well enough and will stay novice hurdling. He's not a winter horse."

Bose Ikard recorded his second win in 24 hours, after Bellewstown on Thursday night, for trainer Noel Meade and Dungannon owner Robert Watson.

The winner was a close second three out before jumping into the lead at the penultimate flight to register another easy success. Meade said: "You never know what it has taken out of them going again so soon. He likes good ground and I don't know where next - he has the option of fences. We'll re group and decide."

Belfast Telegraph

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