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Walden gives crowd plenty to celebrate

By Ron McKnight

Walden, trained in Cullybackey by Ian Ferguson, supplied a superb Ulster success at Downpatrick last night.

Walden, with stable rider William Thompson aboard, was always prominent prior to leading four from home and registering a very easy success for Ronnie Bartlett, who also owns dual Cheltenham Festival winner Simonsig.

Ferguson said: "He loves the faster ground and did that nicely.

"He is entered for the Doncaster Sales – we will wait and see what happens."

The Tote Ireland Handicap Hurdle needed a photo to separate Royal Chief and Jim Bowie.

A stewards enquiry made no alterations to the final placings.

Royal Chief is trained by Eoin Doyle and was partnered to victory by Micky Butler.

Racing got under way with odds-on favourite Draycott Place, former Irish champion jump jockey Paul Townend on board, registering a facile victory for trainer John Ryan.

Ryan said: "He is a high class horse. I will aim him at a good novice hurdle next year."

Townend added: "He did it very easily."

Patrolman, trained by Shark Hanlon, turned up again quickly after finishing second at the Maze on Monday and gained compensation in the handicap hurdle.

Andrew McNamara settled his mount in mid division and eventually scored easily.

Hanlon said: "He was unlucky on Monday – if he had not made the mistake at the last he would have won – but he got in here without the penalty.

"I'll give him a break and aim at the Galway Festival."

Top jockey McNamara doubled up when Shantou Flyer was the very easy winner of the Tote Live The Dream Hurdle.

Handler Colin Bowe said: "The step up in trip and better ground suited – he was a bit unlucky last time at Cork. I'll give him a break now."

Tote Ireland were offering a full betting service at Downpatrick for the first time.

CEO of Tote Ireland Tim Higgins, who presented the trophies, said: "I am very impressed by the attendance and the volume of betting in the ring and on the Tote – I'm delighted how good the Tote turnover is.

"Downpatrick reminds me of the old fashioned meetings – the people, betting and atmosphere.

"Richard (Lyttle) and his team have done a great job with continuous improvements and innovations. I want to express a big thank you to them and it's terrific the track is now on board."

Belfast Telegraph

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