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Island makes a splash on good day for the locals

By Ron McKnight

Larne trainer Stuart Crawford was stunned by the success of 10-1 shot Indy Island in the Sean Graham Hurdle at his local track.

Indy Island - owned by long time supporters of the yard, the Gilmour family from Islandmagee - improved in the final mile under JJ Slevin and out-battled the always prominent Well Joey to score.

Crawford said: "I wasn't expecting that! I think the rain overnight helped and her stamina kicked in.

"I will probably look at a novice hurdle in Britain next."

Charlie Stout - one of the Belfast Telegraph's four correct predictions - won his second race in four days in another local victory.

The winner, trained by Shane Nolan, is owned by former leading local points rider Barry Potts from Strabane.

Nolan said: "He didn't have a hard race on Saturday at Naas so we went again. We decided to let him just roll in front as we thought there would be no pace.

"He'll get three or four weeks off now and we'll decide after what next."

Seven set out in the opening novice chase with only four completing the course.

The well supported favourite No Dice soon led but fell four from home, leaving Double Cross clear, but Mark Walsh aboard the Denis Cullen-trained A Great View - owned by JP McManus - was content to wait until the final fence before delivering a decisive challenge to win easily.

Cullen said: "He needs to improve his jumping - he was a bit lucky when the other horse (No Dice) fell.

"Hopefully he'll improve again. I'm delighted with that."

The prolific Gordon Elliott - battling it out with Willie Mullins for the trainers title - got on the scoreboard when Holeinthewall Bar opened his account over fences in the two mile handicap chase with Denis O'Regan aboard.

Merrion Row attempted to make all but the winner asserted on the downhill run and was chased home by the locally-trained James.

Elliott said: "He was bought for handy money at Doncaster Sales.

"He's in again later in the week - we'll see how he is," added the Meath handler.

Elliott doubled up in the concluding bumper with Last Minute Man.

Rachael Blackmore, who tops the conditional jockeys table, registered another winner on the Shark Hanlon-trained Honest Robber, from 20s into 8-1, in the handicap chase.

Capture The Drama led early but faded from four out as several made forward moves however under a determined ride Honest Robber asserted after the last fence to prevail.

Blackmore said: "It's a fair training performance to get a 12-year-old to win as a maiden.

"He seemed to relish that," she added.

Blackmore doubled up on the day when adopting waiting tactics on Camlann.

The jockey was ultra cool waiting until the final flight to make her move and give her boss Hanlon a double.

Blackmore said: "That's great - any day you have a double is a good day.

"I've only one more before I loose my claim."

Meanwhile, top jockey Davy Russell missed his remaining rides following a wrist injury in the opener.

Belfast Telegraph

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