McBratney targets Festival after Downpatrick win
Crossgar trainer Colin Mc Bratney supplied a local success at the final fixture of the year at Downpatrick.
Herbiegoesbannas had attempted to make all and was fighting out the finish with Electricitywork prior to Sean Flanagan delivering a determined challenge on Balgowlah, supported from 25s to 7/1, to prevail in the handicap hurdle.
McBratney said: "He's only four and he is a tough, little horse. We bought him cheaply for a syndicate and I'd say we'd now be going for the Down Royal Festival."
The featured Molson Coors Hurdle saw just a trio go to the start and reduced to a duo when Three Wise Men unseated his rider three from home. The Willie Mullins trained Quartz Du Rheu impressed to deny Elwood, a half-brother to top novice Delta Work which has the Maze festival feature chase as his target. The winner jumped well to record an easy victory with Mark Walsh in the saddle.
Davy Russell, aboard Three Is Company, dominated the opener from the front and appeared to have stable companion Multifactorial to beat only for Johnathan Moore to produce the Gavin Cromwell trained Bay Ambition on the wide outside to snatch victory.
Russell recorded his first winner since returning from injury on the Gordon Elliott trained Definite Plan, despite an absence of 509 days. The top jockey got a dream run up the inside to beat the front running Cherokee Bill which displaced the Mullins trained Blue Jacaranda as favourite.
Elliott said: "He hadn't been showing much at home so we said we would give him a run and see where we are. He won snug and he might go to England for a novice hurdle."
Father and son trainer and jockey Philip and Luke Dempsey combined to land the Aviator Hurdle when Persian Wind made all for a first victory for two years. Favourite Tiger Twenty Two filled third with a slow jump three from home hindering his chance.
Dempsey snr. said: "It suited him today, he got the run of the race. We'll tip away with him, he's been a great servant and has won plenty of prize money.."
The Eoin Doyle trained Stylish Moment, with Philp Enright aboard, sprang a 20/1 surprise in the Beginners Chase.
Enright said: "He jumped and travelled well and he stayed on up the hill well."
The last race of the year at the course developed into a match after the third last as Tara Mia and Our Bonus went head to head. However the latter, which appeared to be travelling best, fell at the penultimate fence and with the final fence omitted due to an earlier faller was left clear to win for trainer Tom Gibney and jockey Darragh O'Keefe. Gibney said: "You don't always get your just rewards but she did today."