Torrens happy with Grey day
Course specialist Mervyn Torrens was on the mark at Down Royal yesterday when Hughies Grey won the Bet With The Tote Handicap Hurdle at 8-1.
Torrens, who trains in Omagh, said: “Hughies Grey loved the bottomless ground and as soon as I saw the conditions, I became even more confident.”
Winning jockey Connor Maxwell added: “That’s the first time that I have sat on this horse but I was to have ridden him at the Boxing Day meeting which was postponed for a day and I was re-routed to Limerick.”
North Dublin-born jockey Maxwell made every yard of the running and added: “He made a bit of a mistake at the second last but recovered well and wasn’t even blowing at the finish.”
Rossbeigh finished second and Slippers Percy, who started 3-1 favourite, was third.
Torrens continued: “I have nothing in mind for Hughies Grey but he was due a win after a good performance at Gowran Park.
“I have nothing in my stable for Cheltenham but you never know.”
Jessica Harrington kept up her fine record at Down Royal courtesy of Hugo De Vindecy who came late on the scene to beat the 7-1 favourite Rubi Light.
Mrs Harrington said: “The two and a half miles suited Hugo De Vindecy and he will probably go for a similar race at Thurles.”
The first race was delayed half an hour because of frost but once it got started, Monan, formerly with George Stewart and now with Tony Martin, proved best in the mud to land the Sean Graham Bookmakers Maiden Hurdle at Down Royal.
Walsh produced the gelding to lead going into the last and he stayed on well to hold off the challenge from Out Now by about three-parts-of-a-length.
It was a local success for owner Bill Moffett, who is based in Moira — a few miles from the course.
“I don't know where we'll go with him. We'll just keep him to handicap hurdles,” said trainer Tony Martin.
Crossgar’s Colin McBrantey had the one-two in the bumper, the St Patrick’s Day Punters Pack Flat Race.
First home was Sole Witness who made all the running and stayed on under pressure in the final furlong, four lengths ahead of stablemate Firitfromye who was making his racecourse debut.
Previously, Sole Witness was runner-up at Perth last summer on firm ground.
James Lambe’s Imperial Breeze was all the rage in the early bird market being backed down from 33-1 to 8-1 on course but could only finish a well beaten ninth after being prominent early.
Tomorrow's meeting at Chepstow has fallen by the wayside due to waterlogging.