Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Galway Plate Trial: Bridge gets one over on Carmels Boy

Cape crusader: Brian O'Connell rides Cape Glory to victory in Punter Pack Hurdle at Down Royal last night
Cape crusader: Brian O'Connell rides Cape Glory to victory in Punter Pack Hurdle at Down Royal last night

The Galway Plate Trial, last night's Down Royal feature, saw a locally-owned runner beat a locally-trained contender when Fisher Bridge beat the gallant Carmels Boy.

Fisher Bridge is owned by Portadown-based Robert Watson, while Carmels Boy is trained in Banbridge by Neil McKnight.

The Noel Meade-trained winner waited in mid division prior to improving on the downhill run as Baresi hit the front, but jockey Paul Carberry pounced after the second last and glided into the lead as Carmels Boy rallied to good effect to gain second.

Carberrry said: "He was always travelling well and I was telling him 'woo woo' as I didn't want to get there too soon.

"He will hopefully go for the Galway Plate."

Little King Robin made all the running to land the mares novice hurdle. The Colin Bowe-trained runner was winning her third race and readily repelled the challenge of Emily Gray and Ningo Express when they made their efforts at the penultimate flight.

Assistant trainer Brendan Walsh said: "She will probably go to the Grimes Hurdle (at Tipperary) next and if she gets into the Galway Hurdle that would be next, but she would need a 4/5lbs rise in the ratings to get into the Galway race.

"She's been a star for the stable and has consistently competed against the best."

Empresario was the easy winner of the maiden hurdle for Kells, Co Meath handler Matthew Smith and supplied claiming rider John Tobin with his third career win.

While the winner won easily, runner-up Captain Carleton could be considered a little unlucky having been slightly impeded by the fall of of That's The Fact three from home when improving his position.

The Kells handler said: "John (Tobin) gave him a great ride. He's got plenty of ability and won twice on the flat. I might go to Bellewstown with him next."

Jockey Brian O'Connell was seen to good advantage when battling to victory aboard Cape Glory in the Conditions Hurdle.

Silk Hall, trained by James Lambe, attempted to make all but Cape Glory improved three from home into second and while just leading at the final flight was headed again briefly by Silk Hall but pulled out most at the finish to register another winner for Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary with the owner also having the third placed Maxim Gorky.

Winning trainer Gordon Elliott said: "I will look for another winners race – possibly Bellewstown. He did it well."

Elliott was denied a quick double when Leibniz was out pointed by Quarton in the handicap hurdle with Brian Hayes recording number 40 of his career on the Shark Hanlon-trained winner.

The winning jockey said: "The ground did not suit him last time but he did it well tonight."

Crossgar trainer Colin McBratney and Newry owner Cathal McGovern – the duo who landed the Galway Plate in 2009 with Ballyholland – claimed the beginners chase when Butney Rock beat Jarob, who had blundered through the penultimate fence, by a neck in a driving finish.

The local winner, with Noel McParlan aboard, travelled well in the rear until going third three from home and leading prior to the last as the runner-up rallied.

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