Angel shows a touch of class to land spoils at Downpatrick
Tyrone trainer Andy Oliver supplied a local winner with Touchedbyanangel in the North Down Marquees Handicap Hurdle at Downpatrick yesterday.
The winner, partnered by Andrew Lynch, was recording back-to-back victories at the course when leading at the last and easily going clear.
Touchedbyanangel held off Lady Of The Sea and Blue Skimmer to take the victory, and was first past the post by two-and-a-half lengths.
Lynch said: "I don't know how good a race it was but he seems to have improved a bit from the last day."
The winner is locally owned by Co Antrim based Ronnie Graffin, who previously owned the useful Gustavus Vassa until his sale to Willie Mullins.
"We bought him as a wee fun horse," Mullins laughed. "It's a day out for the family. I really fancied him today."
The Gavin Cromwell trained Political Policy with Ger Fox aboard led before the second last to land the BMG Insurance Hurdle in convincing style, repelling favourite Count Simon easily in the closing stages.
Fox said: "He's a brilliant horse, that was his 81st start, he's a gent.
"Gavin keeps him sweet. We will look for a race at Galway next. I owe Gavin everything - I'm very thankful."
Cromwell and Fox doubled up when Aasleagh Dawn landed the mares maiden hurdle with a late thrust, holding off the challenge of Inishbel and Isle of Destiny.
Inishbel had made all the running and looked set for success, only to be caught and overtaken by Aasleagh Dawn in the final 50 yards.
"Gavin is at the bloodstock sales," Fox explained. "I knew coming both had chances. It's a long way home and I knew at the bottom of the hill I could catch the leader."
Champion jump jockey Davy Russell got on the scoreboard courtesy of Youghal By The Sea in the maiden hurdle, winning on the horse owned by his father Gerry.
The winner, trained by Gordon Elliott, stalked the front running Go Guarantor until after jumping at the final flight prior to being pushed clear.
Russell was delighted with the win, claiming: "That was probably one of the most important winners I've ridden!
"I travelled up with my father - he didn't open his mouth the whole way. We raced the mother and grandmother and have a full brother and sisters at home."
Gordon Elliott doubled up when Touch Base, with Mark Walsh in the saddle, was always prominent prior to claiming the long distance handicap hurdle, repelling the challenge of the locally trained Caerleon Kate.
Walsh said: "He's rated 106, and thankfully he finally got his head in front. The other horse came to me but he put his head down and galloped to the line."
Present In Court in the Qatar Racing colours, and partnered by Lisa O'Neill, led from flag fall to claim the final race of the day - the flat.
Timmome attempted to make all in the other staying hurdle but was joined by Tara Mia at the last, and the latter ran out the easy winner for trainer Tom Gibney.