Horse trainer Henry De Bromhead doubles up
Trainer Henry De Bromhead completed a double when Elegant Statesman claimed the Maze feature - the Galway Plate Trial Chase - last night.
The Ryanair-owned pair Band Of Blood and Rathlin cut out the early running while the winner, owned by JP McManus, was content to sit fifth until making progress on the downhill run and lead prior to the final fence for a comfortable victory.
Winning jockey Niall Madden said: "He picked up when I wanted - the ground was a factor although he was all-out at the finish."
Racing got under way at Down Royal last night with a classy performance by Queen Alphabet when easily winning the opener.
The Peter Fahy-trained runner ran second for most as Bengali attempted to make all the running but the winner with Johnny Burke aboard lead two from home and flew the final flight when clear.
The winning jockey said: "She was entitled to win that. We decided to keep it simple.
"She jumps traditional hurdles better than the easyfix hurdles. She could go for a race at Limerick next."
Top jockey Andrew Lynch registered an easy success in the maiden hurdle.
The Henry De Bromhead-trained horse always travelled well prior to jumping into the two from home for a fluent victory.
Lynch said: "He did it well and has improved from his last run when he learnt a lot."
The conditions hurdle produced a thrilling finish.
Rawnaq, trained by Matthew Smith and partnered by his son, Kevin, set of to make all the running but was headed by Devils Bride after the final flight as favourite Bayan just stayed on one pace.
However, Rawnaq, under an inspired ride, rallied to regain the lead in the closing stages to score.
The winning trainer said: "I knew he would battle back when passed.
"He's rated 142 over fences and will be aimed at the Galway Plate but could have a run at Cork in the meantime.
"He was unlucky at Cheltenham earlier in the year."
Kildare trainer Denis Cullen saw his May Dullea register a very easy success in the competitive handicap.
The winner tracked the leader headed by An Capall Mor in fourth three from home but readily led prior to the last.
Winning jockey Jody Mc Garvey said: " I got a lovely tow into the race - she loves that ground."
Seamus Breen, who heads the syndicate owners, said: "Denis was confident she would handle the going.
"She ran well in a better race at Fairyhouse but had a bit of a cough - that's why she was of for a bit."
The Beginners Chase supplied plenty of thrill and spills.
Favourite Mister Red departed at an early stage as Easter Hunt attempted to make all and was still in front when falling three from home while Ocean Glandore was challenging in second when falling at the penultimate fence. Replacement Plan was also a faller.
The winner Bellgrove, with Sean Flanagan in the saddle, was always nicely placed in second behind the early leader and when left clear three out went on to record an easy victory.
The winning jockey said: "I always had plenty of horse under me. He's clever and careful."