Caro Des Flos is punters' pal on night of surprises
The Willie Mullins-trained Caro Des Flos justified support to land the opener at Downpatrick last night - the only favourite to triumph.
Caro Des Flos - with David Mullins aboard - was always at the head of affairs prior to asserting before the penultimate flight and won unchallenged as former Ulster pointer Ravenhill ran on to claim second, and the locally-owned Count Simon filled third, the latter pair trained by Gordon Elliott.
David Mullins said: "He just needs a good trip and a strongly run race - and on good ground around here you get that.
"He'll certainly get three miles and he'll have no problem jumping a fence."
The handicap hurdle supplied a shock with the well supported favourite Banksoftheshannon pulled up at an early stage - lame post-race - and Two In One scoring at 33/1 for father and son duo Philip and Luke Dempsey.
The surprise winner, fitted with first time cheek pieces, produced a very game effort to make all and repel challengers in the closing stages, with Luke Dempsey seen to excellent advantage in the saddle.
Trainer Dempsey Senior said: "He had a dreadful fall and we actually had to send him down to vet Ger Kelly to operate on him and he got him back. We schooled him over fences but he was afraid for his life so we gave him a run over hurdles. He had been working well."
Luke Dempsey doubled up when getting up late on the Jimmy Finn-trained Dorkas after He Knows My Name looked likely to supply a local winner in the handicap chase with one fence omitted due to low-lying sun.
"It was a great ride from Luke. I promised his father I'd give him a spin - I met him in Sligo and he did me a turn," said Finn.
"I met him (Luke Dempsey) in the car park and said to him that this mare had a great chance with the drying ground."
Finn, too, doubled up on the night when Turbo made all in the bumper, providing James Hannon with a double as well.
Hannon replaced Johnny Barry aboard Macs Legend to land the hunter chase with the market principals disappointing.
The locally-trained Folly Dat attempted to make all in the handicap hurdle, however the 50/1 chance was overhauled in the closing stages as Danny Mullins on King Of Aran got a dream run up the inside to prevail, gaining a third course victory, while favourite Crown Of Thorns kept on to finish second.
Danny Mullins said: "He acts very well around here. He had a good run on the flat the last day.
"Michael (Grassick) is a very sharp trainer and I knew I was coming here with a chance," he added.
Whatsinthecorner, with Rachel Blackmore in the saddle, and Ri An Rian fought out the finish of the novice chase, with the verdict going to the former, trained by Shark Hanlon.
"He's a good-ground horse, ground is the key factor to him," said Hanlon. "I'm delighted to get that out of the way because I was beginning to wonder would he ever win a race."