Darwins Fox wins for de Bromhead
After a series of near-misses last winter, Darwins Fox is finally beginning to find his stride over fences as he showed in landing the Grade Three Kilbegnet EBF Novice Chase at Roscommon.
Beaten in five attempts over fences during the last term, Henry de Bromhead freshened the gelding up by trying him on the Flat and over hurdles during the summer months.
And he was swiftly off the mark on his return to the bigger obstacles at the Galway Festival back in July.
Back from a break, the 9/4 joint-favourite led his rivals a merry dance as he drew 13 lengths clear and ran out winner under Andrew Lynch.
"I liked him a lot but he got hurt badly a few years ago and fractured a joint.
"I never thought he'd come back to his full potential but he looks exciting again now," De Bromhead said.
"He's been quite busy during the summer and might go for something in a few weeks' time, we will wait and see. Perhaps the Grade Three at Punchestown on October 17."
Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh combined to take the beginners chase with Sir Vincent (7/2), while the closing bumper went to Noel Meade's 11/10 favourite Ange Balafre in the hands of Nina Carberry.
Fresh from his victory with My Titania in the Group Three CL Weld Park Stakes at the Curragh, John Oxx reminded the Aga Khan of his talents in the 12-furlong maiden.
Oxx's horses have been under a cloud this season, and the powerful owner-breeder elected to switch things around and include Dermot Weld, with Oxx not set to receive any yearlings, although their association will still continue.
Timikar (9/2) stayed on powerfully to beat Cape Glory comfortably, while in-form rider Colin Keane teamed up with his father Gerry to sneak Captain Cullen (14/1) up close home in the Follow Roscommon On Facebook Handicap.
Timikar, who was fourth to the decent Foundry on his only start last back-end, stayed on powerfully through his reappearance in the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Maiden.
Jockey Declan McDonogh said: "He had a few setbacks so we've had to be patient with him for a long while now, which is unfortunate.
"But he wasn't far behind the horse who was second in the Great Voltigeur and you can see him improving even further from that result.
"I was impressed with his attitude, as he had every opportunity to get lonely during his injury period."
Oxx's assistant Jimmy O'Neill said: "He's a big raw horse and had a few minor little things wrong with him that kept him off the track up until now, which couldn't be prevented.
"He wants nice ground but may not get that again and is not one for the all-weather. He will probably go the Goffs Horses in Training Sale."
McDonogh and Oxx combined over the weekend when My Titania picked up the Group Three CL Weld Park Stakes, and the jockey said: "We've got some good maidens to come. We're not down and out yet."
One of the in n-form riders, Colin Keane, teamed up with his father Gerry to sneak Captain Cullen (14/1) up close home in the Follow Roscommon On Facebook Handicap.
Cash Or Casualty stumbled when leaving the stalls but jockey Ian McCarthy was left unscathed after the start-of-race incident.
Gerry Keane said: "The plan was to drop him in and switch him off. Colin said he would have been an unlucky loser today after the performance of both jockey and horse.
"He's a good horse but difficult to keep right because he has problems with mucus, and has spent plenty of time out in the paddock recovering.
"He may go to Tipperary next weekend."
Jim Bolger's Intensical (4/1), highly tried in a Listed and Group race on his first two starts, scraped home a long way down in class in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.
This event and the Buck House were both won by subsequent Arkle runner-up Baily Green 12 months ago.