All guns blazing for Townend
Paul Townend made a winning return to the saddle as Blazing Tempo enjoyed a largely untroubled success in the Follow Nina Carberry On Twitter Rated Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
Champion jockey Townend had been out of action since December 4 after suffering a hairline fracture of his collarbone in a schooling accident, while Galway Plate winner Blazing Tempo was having her first start over hurdles for Willie Mullins.
She was sent off at 1-2 with race conditions in her favour and the only moment of concern for her supporters was a mistake three out, but the seven-year-old mare was soon back on an even keel and only had to be pushed out to beat long-time leader Dooney Rock by three and three-quarter lengths.
Mullins said: "It's nice for Paul to get back on a winning note. We'll try and do the same with Blazing Tempo and try and find another nice race for her - she'll mix it over hurdles and fences.
"She just took her eye off the third-last but she jumped well for a mare coming back from fences."
Townend made it a perfect comeback as the Mullins-trained Up The Beat (9-4), his only other ride, landed the New Value Hospitality Packages at Fairyhouse Beginners Chase.
Mullins said: "He did it well and we'll look for another novice chase for him. He is a real staying chaser and will go up in trip to three miles now."