Down Royal catches Festival fever in very Bright fashion
There were plenty of links to the Cheltenham Festival at Down Royal yesterday, the highlight being Bright Tomorrow's victory for Jessica Harrington minutes after the Kildare trainer had landed the Gold Cup with Sizing John.
The first race at Down Royal had a dramatic conclusion.
Favourite Jack Dillinger had made all the running and with victory appearing assured, jumped the final flight well only to peck a stride after the last and dump jockey Mark Enright into the turf.
Geneva Barracks - representing the father and son duo of trainer Martin Brassil and rider Conor - was handed the spoils while the locally trained Colwinston kept going to finish runner-up.
Martin Brassil said: "The only doubt was that he might run into the loose horse. It's better to be born lucky than rich! Now he has got his head in front he could start believing in himself."
Maple Mons was a popular local winning favourite in the hunter chase. Maple Mons was given the perfect waiting ride by Downpatrick jockey Declan Lavery prior to moving closer on the downhill run and leading before the penultimate fence.
Derrylin trainer David Christie said: "Deckie gave her a brilliant ride. I'm delighted as I lost a stable star, Valmy Baie, during the week.
"I'm delighted for her as this is her final season," he added.
"She's probably the hardiest one I've trained and will probably go for the Joseph O'Reilly Cup (at Fairyhouse at Easter)."
Trainer Jessica Harrington, having just landed the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Sizing John, recorded an across the card double when Bright Tomorrow claimed the Novice Chase with Mark Bolger aboard.
Bright Tomorrow carries the colours of Michael Buckley who has top class horses in training with Nicky Henderson along with Harrington who saddled Rock The World to win the Cheltenham finale for the owner.
Bolger said: "Not a bad half hour for Mrs Harrington! I was just saying that's our Gold Cup there now. He's probably been disappointing over fences to date."
Trainer Shane Nolan and jockey Barry Browne combined to land the Martinstown Hurdle with a quality display.
Thomas Mulligan, who heads up the winning Red, Green & White Syndicate, said: "We'll be back to the north to go chasing. I'd say Downpatrick next time. He has run well there before."
Tyrrell's Success, with dual Northern Region Champion point to point rider Noel McParlan in the saddle, justified sustained support - 12/1 to 7/1 - to land the handicap hurdle, overcoming a stewards enquiry.
Roi De Francs, in first time blinkers, was another winner for the all-conquering Gordon Elliott stable when claiming the feature chase with Conor Brassil aboard, the rider completing a double.
Runner-up was Sizing Coal in the colours of Alan Potts who had just won the Gold Cup with Sizing John.
The popular Dazzling Sarah - 20/1 to 7/1 - prevailed for trainer Pat Fahy and rider Danny Benson in the finale.