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Russell guides William B to easy handicap hurdle win

By Ron McKnight

Liam Lennon provided a local victory in the first session of Downpatrick and the Newry trainer also supplied a winner on the second day when I'm An Izz Wizz landed the handicap chase.

The winner had tracked the leaders but joined the front running Ruffino two from home and despite colliding with that runner at the fence soon shot clear and battled best in the closing stages under Johnny Slevin.

The mare, owned and bred by Co Down-based John Turner, repelled the strong challenges of TB Broke Her and fast finishing Solar Heat close to the line.

William B, having his first start for trainer Gordon Elliott, and supported from 7/2 to 11/10 favourite, was an easy winner of the handicap hurdle while benefiting from a determined ride from Davy Russell.

Gordon Elliott's assistant trainer Ian Amond said: "That's his first run for us so hopefully he'll be a nice horse for the summer that pays his way."

The Meath trainer and top jockey quickly doubled when Station Closed under a very confident ride claimed the third race.

Station Closed is owned by the Gordon Elliott Racing Club which numbers numerous local members in the syndicate.

The winner improved to third at the penultimate hurdle and then lead at the last and readily accounted for Carlito's Bay which was backed from 16/1 to start 9/4 favourite.

Davy Russell and Elliott completed a hat-trick when Cecil Corbett claimed the most valuable race on the card.

The runners were tightly bunched throughout, however after the last a dour battle developed between Cecil Corbett and Garai Phaidin, but Russell's strength drove the winner to the front close home to prevail by a neck.

Elliott was denied a four-timer when the locally trained Scotch Beg beat 2/5 favourite it's All Guesswork in the finale.

The winner was not without support, having been available at 40/1, it was returned at 10/1.

Emmet Mullins sent out the runaway winner of the opener.Arbour Des Champs failed to settle in third so David Mullins decided to let the mare go to front with excellent effect and only a blunder at the penultimate flight gave favourite backers cause for concern.

Trainer Noel Meade and stable jockey Sean Flanagan got on the scoreboard when Jack Slade gave a game performance to win the handicap chase. Flanagan opted to wait until after the fence at the top of the hill before making his move and joined Fenlon's Hill before going clear.

Sean Flanagan said: "He did it well enough - he hasn't exactly handled the track but when he got to the bottom of the hill and he straightened up he raced to the top. He's just a bit of a funny one. Better ground is a big help."

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