Odit and Carmels Boy in an elegant display
Racing at a damp Down Royal got under way with local success when Odit, trained in Omagh by Mervyn Torrens, made all the running to claim the opener with Michael Darcy (right) aboard.
The former German-trained horse had shown promise on his debut when third at the course in March and the Ulster trainer advised: "He appreciated today's ground and stayed on well at the finish –he won over 21/4 miles on the flat
"It's the first horse I've had for the owner Liam Kerrigan from Randalstown – he just rang me and asked me to buy him a horse. I'm not sure what is next but might consider something at the Galway Festival."
The odds-on favourite, Shemshal, delivered a challenge at the penultimate flight where the Tony Martin runner made a slight mistake, but Odit galloped strongly on the line.
Carmels Boy, winner of the hunterchase last year, gained a repeat victory in the race to provide Northern Connections with a double on the day for Loughbrickland trainer, Neil McKnight.
The winner was cruising but came under pressure at the third last, where Kanesh and Need To Know both fell, and the conclusion of the race was fought out by the winner and Mattara.
McKnight stated: "He has missed bits of work and was not 100% today – I will look for something else in three week's time and he should improve for that."
Carpet Elegance, owned and trained by Thomas Farrell and partnered by Eddie O'Connell, landed the handicap hurdle when delivered with a decisive late challenge at the final flight to win easily.
The Housekeeper, trained by Harry Kelly in County Tipperary, was another winner on the day.
Favourite, Taglietelle ran last for most of the race prior to moving second on the downhill run but the Gordon Elliott runner was soon in trouble as Paul Carberry went for whip at the second last and finished runner-up – a long way behind the very easy winner with Sean Flanagan in the saddle.
Jansboy was another favourite to disappoint when well beaten in the beginner's chase by Authinger with Robbie Power aboard – the winner supplying compensation for trainer Tony Martin's earlier defeat.
Haughtons Bridge mounted a challenge but the winner was always travelling well and powered home after clearing the final fence.
The triumphant horse is owned by the seven man Irish Shamrock syndicate and a member detailed: "We expected a good run – Robbie Power said after his last start he would win a race."
Shabra Charity, trained by Oliver Brady, was a popular result despite another favourite being beaten.
Araglen Lad, trained by James Lambe, attempted to taste glory. However, Fermanagh jockey Ryan Treacy excelled as four horses in a line jumped the second last and the winner appeared to be just headed at the final fence before keeping on to the line to win by a head.
Anthony Mc Cann, assistant to the Monaghan trainer, said: "Oliver [Brady] went back into hospital last night – he was out for a week and a half – that win will cheer him up.
"She's a very honest mare that loves the firmer ground – she is entered in Clonmel on the flat on Thursday and if the ground stays the same and she is OK after today could run again."
Punters Pal and Nina Carberry again came to the rescue of favourite backers in the concluding bumper when scoring on Officer Cadet, trained by Gordon Elliott for Ryanair's Michael O'Leary with the owner's other intended runner, Fill Your Boots, withdrawn in advance of racing.
* Jockey Pat Cosgrave has had a six-month ban for 'improper riding' reduced to four months by stewards in Dubai.
The 31-year-old Ulsterman was sanctioned by the Emirates Racing Authority for his ride in the Jebel Hatta on March 8.
But the Professional Jockey's Association (PJA) criticised the decision to uphold a ban, calling for it not to be applied in Britain.
"We believe the board has seriously erred in its judgement," said PJA chief executive Paul Struthers.
"As a result we will today be lodging an application on behalf of Pat Cosgrove with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) requesting that they do not reciprocate the suspension."