Russell stars with Gowran double
Champion jockey Davy Russell took the riding honours at Gowran Park with a double on Bonzo Bing and Upstager.
Bonzo Bing faced a tough opponent in the 29 Gold Packages For Racing Rated Novice Hurdle in the shape of Willie Mullins' classy mare Vicky De L'Oasis, who had been second in Graded company on her previous two starts. However, she was having to give 3lb away.
Russell seemed to be going strongly when he produced Bill Harney's improving six-year-old to challenge alongside the favourite over the final two flights, and the 4-1 shot always looked to be doing just about enough as he got home with half a length to spare.
Harney said: "He's a proper horse and got a good education from Davy today.
"He's not in love with that ground, but what horse would be? He's still a shell and a baby and we won't over-use him over hurdles - although then again we could get greedy! Chasing will be his job and he'll go over fences next season."
The jockey initiated his double when he climbed aboard Upstager for the first time in the 19 Silver Packages For Racing Maiden Hurdle, taking it up going to the last on Pat Colville's 10-1 shot.
The gelding wasn't too clever at the final flight but was able to maintain his momentum, and he held too many guns for the favourite Moonlight Boy as he forged four and a quarter lengths clear to win with some authority.
The trainer said: "He's an improving horse and handled the trip and ground well.
"He needed a bit of racing to learn. He'll probably go for a novice handicap next, maybe at Fairyhouse. He'll go chasing next year - he's bred to do that."
JP McManus was out of luck with Moonlight Boy, but the owner's colours were carried to victory by Eddie Harty's Sort It Out in the www.gowranpark.ie Handicap Hurdle. The 8-1 shot had plenty to do at the final flight but flew up the run-in under Alan Crowe to collar Leavethelighton and win by three-quarters of a length.