Father and son show how it’s done
Ainama bounced back to form at Cork yesterday to strike for trainer Niall ‘Boots' Madden and his jockey son ‘Slippers'.
A winner at the Mallow venue in August but beaten since at Gowran, JP McManus' gelding gamely landed the www.corkracecourse.ie Handicap Hurdle.
Jumping to the front two out, the 9/2 chance stayed on well to beat Big Game Hunter by two lengths.
“He liked the trip and the ease in the ground,” said the winning trainer.
“I've no plans for him now — he'll run away there in three-milers,” he added.
New Phase, backed into 3/1 from 9/2, was a cosy winner under Robbie McNamara in the conditions hurdle.
In front before the second-last flight, Dermot Weld's gelding was not troubled to defeat Jered by four lengths.
Winning owner Kris Weld, son of the trainer, said: “He did it well. It was a good competitive race and he won well.
“I'll talk to dad now but I might put him away and school him over fences with a view to going chasing in the New Year.”
McNamara went on to complete a double when guiding odds-on favourite Mississippi River to victory in the concluding bumper.
John Kiely's charge landed the odds with the minimum of fuss as he eased clear to beat the promising newcomer Grove Pride.
“He was always a promising horse but he is an immature horse. He'll stay in bumpers for this season,” revealed the trainer.
Charlie Swan's Second Glance gained reward for her consistency when landing the handicap chase under David Casey.
The partnership went on four from home and saw off Tawrific Laois by two lengths.
“She has been frustrating but she has got there at last,” beamed Swan.
“She has been very consistent and she is a very good jumper for a Flat-bred filly. She is in the sales next week.”
Meanwhile, Menorah returned to the scene of his greatest victory to date with a brave triumph in the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Last season the Philip Hobbs-trained gelding lifted the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, meaning he was saddled with 11st 12lb in the competitive Grade Three.
Richard Johnson looked on the verge of an impressive victory when cruising past Bothy at the second-last but his rival came back again and only went down by a neck.
Hobbs saddled Rooster Booster to win the Greatwood in 2001 before the grey went on to Champion Hurdle honours and Stan James offer 12-1 about Menorah for the same race.
"It was a very good performance, especially as he had to go so wide as the ground was definitely better wider - ideally he doesn't want it too soft," said Hobbs.
"I suppose the old Bula Hurdle back here might be next, otherwise he'd go for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton."
Johnson added of the 6-1 shot: "To be fair to him, he stumbled at the back of the last. If he hadn't done that I think he would have won a bit easier."
Star of the undercard was Gauvain, who leapt into contention for the Queen Mother Champion Chase with a stunning comeback victory. after an absence of 19 months.