Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Yes Tom hits full Power

Andrew McNamara on Never Complain (left) comes in to win the Beginners Steeplechase
Andrew McNamara on Never Complain (left) comes in to win the Beginners Steeplechase

Yes Tom sprang a surprise to claim the St Patrick's Day feature chase at Down Royal for Larne trainer Stuart Crawford, with Robbie Power in the saddle.

The grey gelding, owned by Ballyclare hotelier Tom Topping, had not won since Ayr in 2012 and hadn't run for three months. But, sent off at 14-1 on his first start for the Larne handler, he was always in command and completed an easy seven lengths victory.

Crawford said: " I only ran him here as it was a small field and our local track – I had considered going to Kelso.

"I was expecting a good run but not confident of winning although he has been improving in recent weeks.

"I wanted to build his confidence and will look for something similar before stepping up in company."

There was also an Ulster-owned and trained victory in the opener when Black Spot On made all the running and battled gamely in the closing stages to hold the persistent and late challenge of runner-up Tulsa Jack with Paul Carberry aboard.

The winner of the opener is trained at Armagh by John Woods – a formidable amateur rider in his younger days and owned by the Oliver Family Syndicate, who were previously represented on the track by Tin Town Boy.

The winning trainer said: "He has been running well in better races – he'll mix it on the flat and over hurdles in the coming months. That's my first winner on the track for several years."

Winning jockey, Matty Bowes originally from Galway but now living close to Armagh, added: "I knew I had it at the line (won by neck) – he will stay further and battled well close home."

A local hat-trick was denied when odds-on favourite James was denied in the photo finish in the Hunter Chase by Matada Supreme, ridden by Noel McParlan – who finished second in last week's prestigious Foxhunters at Cheltenham.

A Stewards Inquiry prolonged the agony for punters but the placings remained unaltered.

Top jockey Andrew McNamara was seen to excellent advantage in the Beginners Chase when prevailing by half a length on Never Complain.

The winner looked a travelling best on the downhill run but had a trio of challengers in pursuit with Mr Cosmopolitan getting closest and only two lengths separated the first four home.

Green Energy, trained by Matthew Smith and partnered by son Kevin, claimed and landed a gamble (16s to 8/1) in the Martinstown Handicap Hurdle for claiming riders.

The winner is another likely to mix flat racing and hurdling in the coming weeks and provided the winning rider with his third career success.

The Gigginstown Stud/Michael O'Leary colours, having recorded four winners at Cheltenham last week, were back in the winners enclosure after the Colm Murphy trained Express Du Berlais made all the running to score in the long distance handicap hurdle.

Crossgar trainer Colin McBratney, who has to settle for second in the Foxhunters, was again in the runner-up spot with Killultagh Sarah, in the bumper. Rivera Sun won the race to give trainer Henry De Bromhead a double at the Lisburn venue.

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