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Henderson keeps the prize

Nicky Henderson collected the Star Best For Racing Coverage Novice Hurdle at Punchestown for the second successive year, this time saddling the first two home.

The Seven Barrows handler struck with Kid Cassidy 12 months ago and it was the heavily supported 11-8 favourite Oscara Dara who struck gold this time.

Barry Geraghty cut a confident figure straightening up for home and Oscara Dara quickened smartly in the testing ground to run to the lead approaching the final flight. Stable companion Malt Master and Tony McCoy tried to make a race of it, but Oscara Dara delighted punters, keeping on to score by three and a half lengths.

Henderson said: "It seems an awful long way to come to find out which is the better of our two horses! If you switched the ground you might easily switch the result. They are both lovely horses.

"The winner brought nice form from Aintree and came with Darlan a long way up the straight then. AP (McCoy) was thrilled with Malt Master. Both horses will go chasing next year and there is plenty to look forward to."

It was back to normal in the concluding ITBA Fillies Scheme Premier Bumper as Willie Mullins scored a 1-2, with Glens Melody (11-1) scooting past stablemate Tasitiocht to win by three and a half lengths under Katie Walsh.

The trainer said: "She's a half-sister to (Listed hurdle winner) Ceol Rua. She's a strong filly and obviously handles that ground."

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