Mountain Kingdom hits the heights to triumph
Mountain Kingdom - tipped in yesterday's Belfast Telegraph - got Downpatrick's popular Ladies Day Bank Holiday meeting off to a flyer with a local success.
Mountain Kingdom is trained in Crossgar by Colin McBratney and owned by Newry-based Cathal McGovern, the duo landing the prestigious Galway Plate in 2009 with Ballyholland.
Former champion jockey Paul Townend delayed his challenge until approaching the final flight in the Giltspur Scientific Best Dressed Man, Win A Trip To Abu Dhabi Maiden Hurdle and it paid off with a convincing victory.
McBratney said: "I'm delighted - especially for Cathal who is a long-standing owner."
And McBratney praised the work of the horse's previous trainer.
"I haven't had him long but John Larkin did a great job with him," he said.
"He's been running well but I was just a bit worried about the climb up the hill as I thought the last day he didn't quite get home. He'll go back to Perth where he has been second twice or Navan for a novice hurdle next."
Another Belfast Telegraph tip, Bertie Bell, trained beside the course by Brian Hamilton, provided the second local victory in the maiden hurdle.
Top jockey Davy Russell waited until after the last before delivering a decisive challenge.
Hamilton said: "It wasn't a vintage race but he did it well.
"He loves that ground but we'll see what the handicapper does before deciding what's next.
"It was great to get Davy - I rode against him in points before he turned professional."
Tornado Watch proved the very easy winner of the handicap hurdle when landing a gamble - 25/1 in the morning to 13/8 favourite.
The winner was trained by Jonathon Fogarty and partnered by Mikey Fogarty who said: "He had done a nice couple of pieces of work - I was hoping to be placed and rode him that way."
He added: "We had a two-year-old winner last week."
A nose decided the Downe Travel Hurdle with Coolfighter denying Our Brian and only a short head to the third, Rendezvous Peak, in a driving finish.
Winning trainer Nat Dooly said: " I didn't think he had got up - that four he's won.
"I might try further on the flat and he's in again at Kilbeggan on Friday night."
Odit reaped the rewards for a switch to fences for mother and son duo Mags and Danny Mullins, winning the beginners chase on his debut. Odit travelled strongly from the last to the line, beating Wes Hardin.
Mags Mullins said: "I'm delighted with that - he did it well from the last. We'll see how he is before deciding what's next."
Arthur Moore, who recorded success at the previous fixture, was back in the winners enclosure when Mitebeall Forluck - another Belfast Telegraph tip - was the easy winner of the handicap chase with Donagh Meyler in the saddle.