Leopardstown: Treble on glory day for Russell
Stonemaster capitalised on a last-flight fall by Psycho to open his account for the campaign in the Ballsbridge Hurdle, the second leg of a treble for jockey Davy Russell at Leopardstown yesterday.
Both Stonemaster and Psycho were about to challenge long-time leader Made In Taipan when Tony Martin's runner came to grief.
That left Dessie Hughes' charge, carrying the colours of Gigginstown House Stud, to pounce and overtake Made In Taipan to score by two lengths, with Catch Me a never dangerous third, 10 lengths away.
Hughes said of his 4-1 winner: “It's nice to win with him as it's very hard for second season hurdlers like him. That was a good performance carrying his penalty.
“His options are limited between now and Punchestown as, apart from handicaps, there is only one race for him — that being a two-mile-six conditions hurdle at Cork.
“The idea was not to be too hard on him this season and he will be a proper horse over fences next season.”
The in-form Russell and Gigginstown combination were completing a quick double having taken the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Hurdle with the Paul Nolan-trained Westmeath (5-1).
Next stop is the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham, for which the six-year-old is 20-1 from 40-1.
Rank outsider Gentle Alice (10-1) overturned better-fancied rivals in a six-strong affair for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase.
Russell, seeking a four-timer after winning the www.leopardstown.com Handicap Hurdle on the Charles Byrnes-trained Pittoni, set out to make all on Uncle Tom Cobley.
Conor O'Dwyer's charge was still in front at the last but was collared on the run-in as Paul Townend produced the Donie Murphy-trained mare with a well-timed run that resulted in a three-quarters of a length verdict. Coscorrig grabbed second place from Uncle Tom Cobley.
The evens favourite Osirixamix was a second big disappointment for Psycho's trainer Tony Martin and was pulled up when well beaten before the final fence.
Murphy said: “I'm thrilled and she will go for the Dawn Run in two weeks' time at Limerick.”
Carrigmartin (9-1) and Rahan De Marcigny gave owner JP McManus a one-two when fighting out a thrilling finish to the Carrickmines Handicap Chase.
The former came out on top for jockey Niall Madden and trainer Eddie Harty by a head as the pair pulled away from the others from the last.
Waaheb had to fleetingly work hard to justify his short price of 4-9 by holding off debutant Jenari in the Killiney INH Flat Race.
Robbie McNamara dictated the pace on Dermot Weld's course and distance winner and had all his rivals beaten off except for Jessica Harrington's runner.
Jenari briefly looked like causing an upset but Waaheb came readily back on the bridle inside the final furlong to win by a cosy length and a half.