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Wat an Ulster success with Finea in the hunter chase

By Ron McKnight

Published 09/05/2015

In front: Catimini leads the Mares Handicap Hurdle at Downpatrick
In front: Catimini leads the Mares Handicap Hurdle at Downpatrick

Armagh trainer Keith Watson supplied a local winner for punters who had braved a very wet night at Downpatrick, Finea triumphing in the hunter chase.

Finea got home ahead of El Grande.

Watson said: "We were reasonably confident. He finish placed in a point to point a couple of weeks ago and has improved for that outing.

"He's had several minor problems but if okay will run again at Tipperary next week."

The opening race saw leading trainer at the track Gordon Elliott record another winner with Ibsen.

Ibsen - along with the runner-up Unic De Bersy - was always at the front and the pair drew clear in the closing stages with the favourite asserting at the final flight on the way to victory.

Winning jockey Kevin Sexton said: "He jumped great and we fancied him.

"It was nice to see the rain come. I had plenty of horse under me."

Ibsen is owned by Attheraces TV presenter Gary O'Brien along with Eamon Collins, Connor Brett and winning trainer Elliott.

A trio of horses jumped the final flight together in the mares hurdle with eventual winner Josephine Marcus in the middle of Feel The Air and Catimini.

The Noel Meade horse kept on well in the testing conditions to prevail with claiming jockey Ger Fox aboard.

Fox said: "She jumped very well and I had to keep her covered. The blinkers kept her straight.

"She probably would have won in Limerick but she got pushed a bit and took the easy way out.

"She has improved a bit more and put her head down and went for the gap.

"She's a nice mare to look forward to."

The Gillian Callaghan-trained Redclue, with Danny Mullins in the saddle, proved the 20-length winner of the handicap hurdle.

Redclue was making his debut for the Meath handler who said: "A good first run for us. We probably have him six or seven weeks.

"He schooled well over hurdles. He's genuine."

The Edward O'Grady-trained and JP McManus-owned Getting Late ran out the very easy winner of the maiden hurdle in the hands of top jockey Mark Walsh.

O'Grady said: "The last time he ran, (his jockey) Alan Crowe said that he should step up in trip."

The handicap chase produced a thrilling climax with a photo finish providing winner number two of the night for Elliott, Le Grand Chene scoring by a head from favourite Halls Bridge.

Winning rider Bryan Cooper said: "He's tough and is an out-and-out stayer."

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