Big home win for Brian as Big Kern races to victory
Big Kern, trained by Brian Hamilton, duly supplied a local success and compensation for defeat last time as a very easy winner of the Maiden Hurdle in the Downpatrick rain yesterday.
The local horse was given an ultra confident ride by former Champion jumps jockey Paul Townend and cruised into the lead at the final hurdle from another local runner, Better Back Bob, which had attempted to make all.
Trainer Hamilton said: "The shorter trip last time here at Downpatrick just had him out of his comfort zone. He wants decent ground.
"He might tackle a novice hurdle but I will wait and see what the handicapper does with him."
The handler, based beside the course, added that his dual flat winner Wither Hills might now go to Killarney for a mile and six furlong contest.
Sligo trainer Mark McNiff registered success with Idlewild in the first race yesterday at a very wet Downpatrick fixture.
Jockey Derek Fox was seen to good advantage on the winner when making all the running, tracked early by Pay No Need and Hot Prospect, but in the closing stages the winner maintained his gallop to score by 10 lengths as the disappointing joint favourite, Cebuano, kept on one pace to claim third. Thats A Fact filled second while the other joint favourite, Pay No Need, faded and finished fourth.
The winning rider said: "He jumped very well to win easily. The ground was soft – sloppy. (Official going altered to soft after the first race). He took a good hold and travelled and finished well."
Sligo handler McNiff added: "Derek said he just had a bit of a wobble crossing the line but he's not lame. He ran on his head early on. The ground was wild holding in Ballinrobe last time."
The same trainer and jockey duo doubled up on the day when Penny Tune landed the Mares Handicap Hurdle beating favourite Dashing Lady.
The first two jumped the penultimate flight together but the winner, previously successful at the track in June, asserted at the final flight.
McNiff said: "This is my lucky track and I might come back here with her for the next meeting (August 25). She goes on any ground and I might consider a run on the flat in England as another option later on."
Star of Aragon proved an equally facile winner of the Rated Hurdle when winning by 14 lengths and supplying rider Thomas Doran with his first career victory.
The winner travelled easily in fourth for most of the race prior to slipping through on the inside before the penultimate flight and shooting clear of rivals.
Winning trainer James Nash said: "He always wanted good ground when younger but as he has got older, he appears to appreciate an ease in the ground. Thomas did that very nicely and is very capable, plus he can claim 7lbs of a light weight.He'll get more opportunities."
Favourite in the race, Primroseandblue, trained by Willie Mullins, and rideen by PW Mullins, could only manage a poor third.
Trainer Jim Dreaper provided a Handicap hurdle winner when Cerca Trova kept on best to deny Mosman Park – the latter well supported at morning prices from 14/1 to an 8/1 starting price.
The winner again got a dream run up the inside two from home and having headed Glen Orchy Lad readily held the late challenge of the runner-up.
Winning jockey Johnny Burke, recently turned professional and son of trainer Liam Burke, said in the absence of the trainer: "He was always finding plenty and will have no problems when he goes chasing."
Jockey Brian O'Connell continued his excellent run of success when claiming the second last Sound of Silver Hurdle on the Michael Cleary trained Couleur De La Loi – the winner always travelling easily and leading at halfway as the leader Cara Vic faded prior to registering a very convincing victory.