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Foxrock delivers for Walsh family as he proves too hot for rivals in Hunters Chase

By Ron McKnight

Katie Walsh partnered Foxrock trained by her father, Ted, to victory in the competitive Down Royal Hunters Chase yesterday.

The winner led at the fence at the top of gravel hill and was in command prior to the last to beat the locally trained Balnaslow.

Katie Walsh said: "He jumped very well - he's not as quick through the air as others but very safe. He had lots left at the business end. He has given us some great days and retains plenty of ability. We were expecting a big run and he delivered."

Ballyclare-based Ben Arthey recorded another track success when Backinthesaddle prevailed by a half length in the Martinstown Hurdle, beating favourite Broughtons Star. The winner was partnered by local amateur Noel Kelly, who was seen to good advantage in a tight finish.

Arthey said: "He disappointed the last day but his first run (for us) in Ayr was great. I knew if he was back to his first run he was a penalty kick! I haven't a horse that could go with him. He is in at Punchestown on Saturday, but we'll see."

The Storyteller recorded another local success. The winner, trained by Gordon Elliott, had appeared assured of winning when tumbling at the penultimate flight at last month's festival but gained compensation when scoring easily for the Sloan family from Templepatrick.

Winning jockey Keith Donoghue said: "He was entitled to do that. Gordon thought he was his banker today - he had the experience. He's capable of stepping up and certain to develop into a very nice horse."

Elliott doubled up when Broken Soul, with champion amateur rider Jamie Codd in the saddle, supplied a 1-2 in the concluding bumper beating stable companion Oakley Hall - the winner asserting a furlong from home.

Codd said: "The addition of a tongue-tie helped. He probably hasn't been seeing out his races but with the tongue-tie he did."

A stewards inquiry followed the maiden hurdle when Calino D'Airy beat the locally owned and trained Turbojet by a neck, however the result stood.

Dylan Robinson, a former top class apprentice on the flat, has turned his attention to jumps and partnered the winner for trainer Henry De Bromhead who dominated the recent festival.

Robinson said: "He galloped away and battled well at the finish. He'll definitely get further."

The opening beginners chase saw a gamble landed when the Liz Doyle-trained Last Goodbye (10s to 7-2 joint favourite) kept on best having been third over the final fence to prevail close home with Johnny Slevin aboard.

Original favourite Art Of Payroll drifted from 2-1 to 6-1 and finished fourth.

The winning rider said: "He would have been an unlucky enough loser. When Keith Donoghue unseated (on Moonshine Lad) down the back, I was on the inner and had nowhere to go and got shuffled back. He jumped brilliantly and travelled well."

JJ Slevin, originally based with Nigel Twiston-Davies, now forms part of Joseph O'Brien's team at Piltown, Co Kilkenny and doubled up immediately when partnering Moonlone Lane to victory in the handicap chase for handler Paul Stafford.

The conditional rider adopted different tactics when leading from halfway and held on by a length from Paper Lantern.

Stafford said: "I only got JJ at the last minute as the horse was third in this race last year and I had hoped Lorna Brooke could ride him again as he runs well for a girl."

Belfast Telegraph

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