Flare lines up Ascot run
Flaxen Flare will be pointed towards the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot following a facile success in a three-runner race at Cork.
The Cheltenham Festival-winning four-year-old, who finished second in the Galway Hurdle on his last outing, was rarely out of second gear in the Corkracecourse.ie Hurdle and jumped to the front from the pacesetting Choisilady at the third-last flight.
Davy Condon soon had the race in safe keeping and though Massini's Trap was driven to within a length near the finish, there was never any threat from that quarter and the 1-9 favourite eased over the line.
Winning trainer Gordon Elliott, who won the Ladbroke last year with Cause Of Causes, said: "It was an ideal race for him and he jumped around nice and safe. He'll have a little break and come back for the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot. We might find a little Flat race for him as well."
It was plain sailing again for Condon when he completed his double with an easy success on Noel Meade's 1-3 favourite Curley Bill in the Family Day Out Maiden Hurdle.
The five-year-old, who brought smart Flat form into the race, quickened into the lead between the final two flights and won with plenty in hand even though Fantasy King ran on strongly to get to within two and a quarter lengths.
Meade said: "It was simple enough, he didn't have that much to beat. He won easily. He should be a force in those good novice races. He'll jump better when they are going quicker. We will put his Flat career on hold until next year.
"He might go to Listowel for a novice hurdle. He'll have a rest over the winter during the worst of the ground."
Paul Flynn's 5-1 joint-favourite Limpopo Tom was strongly challenged all the way down the straight in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle, but Brian Cawley kept him going to hold Goal by a length and three-quarters.
The trainer said: "Keith Donoghue rode him the last day and he said to drop him back in trip, and it was the right thing to do. If he keeps improving he'll pick up another one. We might bring him to England for better ground if we have to. He doesn't seem to like Dundalk so we might bring him somewhere on the Flat like Wolverhampton."