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Sky's the limit for Derulo after Down Royal triumph

By Ron McKnight

Published 03/05/2016

Powering on: Bryan Hayes takes Kilkishen to Conditions Hurdle joy
Powering on: Bryan Hayes takes Kilkishen to Conditions Hurdle joy

Down Royal's big May Day meeting kicked off in style when Derulo - a recruit from the flat scene - made a winning debut over hurdles in the Maiden Hurdle for trainer Liz Doyle.

A large crowd saw Derulo, with Sean Flanagan on board, and The West's Awake pull away at the final flight, with the former clinching the victory.

A delighted Doyle said: "He jumps well but I was worried about the penalty he had to carry. It was nice to get a horse like him - he's owned by a new Irish owner, who is based in Britain. He'll go for a novice hurdle next."

Gold Cup-winning trainer Gordon Elliott got on the scoreboard when Shan Dun Na Ngall - under the control of Kevin Sexton - claimed the Handicap Hurdle.

Shan Dun Na Ngall - who had been the first reserve for the race - took the victory after a fierce battle with eventual runner-up Konig Hall, who is trained inOmagh by Mervyn Torrens.

Elliott said: "He's owned by a syndicate from everywhere. He'll pay his way and is a summer horse and will give the owners plenty of fun."

The Elliott-trained Corgyhill set out to make all in the Conditions Hurdle but had to settle for third place. Kilkishen, ridden by Brian Hayes, clinched the victory after pushing on four from home - where Round Tower fell - and it was left to the locally-trained Danielle's Journey to take second.

Winning trainer Shark Hanlon said: "He's a big chaser - we thought we would give him one run over hurdles and go chasing but we will see what happens now.

"I'm delighted for Brian - he's been injured for eight weeks and that was his first ride back. I wish courses would stop watering the ground - summer horses need better, faster ground. He will improve on better ground - he's stronger this year."

Hurricane Darwin lived up to the favourite tag in the Beginners Chase with trainer Alan Fleming stating: "He did it nicely and jumped cleverly. Denis (O'Regan, winning jockey) said he'll be better again in a better race."

Owner Barry Connell added the horse would be aimed at a one-winner chase at Killarney.

Altiepix attempted to make all in the Feature Chase but finished third behind winner Mitebeall For Luck - ridden by Paul Townend - and Elegant Statesman. Winning trainer Arthur Moore said: "He's been knocking on the door - that's his ground and I think the trip suits. That will give him a bit of confidence."

There was a surprise result in the Hunter Chase when El Grande provided Maria Richert with her first winner as private trainer to Draperstown owner PJ Conway.

Chosen Dream fell at the penultimate fence but recovered to take second.

Belfast Telegraph

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