In Pictures: Down Royal Races - Crawford brothers' do the double
THE Crawford brothers from Larne had a Christmas to remember with a stunning double at Down Royal's big Boxing Day meeting
And it could so easily have been a treble for trainer Stuart Crawford.
Steven Crawford rode Man With Van and Twentytwo's Taken to victory for the trainer, the jockey's elder brother.
And another brother, Ben, was on board Stuart's Mister Nibbles, second in the Dennison Commercials Maiden Hurdle behind Roll It Out.
Man With Van landed the maiden hurdle, leading three from home before going clear and, despite wandering about in the closing stages, headed an Ulster 1-2-3 in the contest.
Der Kaiser – trained by Brian Hamilton in Downpatrick – finished second, while third place went to Quickasyoucan, trained by Colin McBratney in Crossgar.
Winning trainer Crawford said: "He's a nice horse and a late maturing type – he was impressive winning his point to point. He had problems before I got him and is improving after a summer break. He is owned by a syndicate based in east Antrim."
The Crawford-trained newcomer Twentytwo's Taken was the wide margin winner of the bumper with Downpatrick handler Hamilton having to again settle for second with his debutante Some Plan.
Winning trainer Crawford added: "I was slightly concerned about the ground today but she could not have done it any better.
"I don't know where next as she has not really galloped at home."
Racing got under way with a local victory when Leish Oscar claimed the opening beginners chase which had a dramatic conclusion when Mullaghanoe River, travelling easily in third, and Hit The Headlines, which had come under pressure but was still in fourth, both fell at the penultimate fence.
Derek Fox was unseated from Seskinane in the melee.
The Neil McKnight-trained winner had led from three out having been prominent and was clear when the trio departed at the second last.
The Loughbrickland-based trainer said: "She's a good mare and always gives everything. She was a very good second behind Rebel Fitz at Ballinrobe in May.
"I was quietly confident she would run well again today having been second in her last three races.
"I'm not sure where we will go next – I will discuss that with the owner Dermot (O'Brien from Jerretspass) who has three with me."
The winner was partnered by claiming rider Ian McCarthy and had been available at 20/1 in the morning prior to a returned SP of 8/1.
The big local hope of the day and favourite for a repeat win in the hunter chase, Tammys Hill, was denied by the JP McManus-owned On The Fringe, trained in Limerick by Enda Bolger and partnered by Nina Carberry.
Tammys Hill was held up in the early stages, challenging three from home, but jumped badly left at the second last.
However the eventual winner, having led entering the straight, always held the upper hand while dual Cheltenham Festival Foxhunters winner Salsify finished third.
Bolger said: "The big hunter chase at Fairyhouse in February would be the next target and the Foxhunters at Cheltenham a possible consideration if all goes well."
Royal Flight, trained by Christy Roche, claimed the Martinstown Hurdle sponsored by JP McManus.