Small World and Ruby Walsh claim Downpatrick honours
Ruby Walsh delivered Small World with a perfectly-timed challenge to win the Dr. E.F. Logan OBE Memorial & Giltspur Scientific Most Stylish Hat Competition Win A Trip To Athens Handicap Hurdle at Downpatrick.
Walsh was completing a double aboard Peter Fahey's 7-4 favourite, reeling in the front-running Tranquil Magic approaching the last before kicking clear on the run to the line.
The winning rider said: "They went very hard, I was never confident. They capitulated and let me win well."
Mick Hartnett, one of the winning owners who comprise the Three Locks Syndicate, said: "There are five of us in the syndicate, we are from Dublin and Limerick and one is in Kildare as well. I'm originally from Limerick but live in Dublin.
"We knew we had a chance. Ruby said they went very fast from the start and the race kind of broke up and suited him."
The Walsh-ridden Didero Vallis made a successful Irish debut as the 8-13 favourite in the opening Profile Systems Maiden Hurdle.
The four-year-old cost 130,000 euros at the sales last November after being placed in four bumper starts in France and he made short work of six rivals, winning by four lengths from Great Tango.
Walsh said: "He got there. It was a good performance first time. He lacked a bit of experience but he stayed well.
"It's always good when they are doing their best work at the end."
Alterno brought back good memories for trainer Des McDonogh (7-2 favourite) with his 11-length victory in the Ulster Carpets Handicap Hurdle.
McDonogh said: "This is one of my favourite tracks from the very beginning, I was leading trainer here for two or three years in the 1970s.
"I rode my first winner here - I won't say when but it was 1969! I beat Richard Dunwoody's father in a hurdle. The horse duly knew more than I did and pulled up after the winning post and I fell off over his head! I got back up and it was grand.
"He deserved that, that fella. He has been running consistently despite the old trait of the swishing of the tail. He does but he didn't swish today.
"It's brilliant as he has been knocking on the door. I'd say he'll jump a fence, he's a great jumper."
Jimmy Two Times returned to winning ways as the 8-15 favourite in the AJC Group Winner Alright Ladies Upstyle Hair Competition Win A Trip To Croatia Beginners Chase.
Trainer Brian Hamilton said: "That was an easy opportunity for him, he needs to go right-handed. There aren't many opportunities for him for the next month.
"He may go to Galway, I think there's a race for him there at the end of September. I think if there's a graded race we might look at running there. If it is two-miles-one (in Galway) it might be a bit short. This race was ideal for him, it was a good place to start off.
"He pops away, he is cute to jump. I would love to try and come back to win the Ulster National but he is going to be too highly handicapped for that job."