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Poorman a National treasure for teen Jack and Gordon

 

By Ron McKnight

Teenage jockey Jack Kennedy scored his first Ulster National win on locally owned Poormans Hill on a day of thrills at Downpatrick.

And in the process he handed trainer Gordon Elliott, who had three winners on the day, a new record of 194 winners for the season.

The feature race was an eventful one, even before the off. Dare To Endeavour was withdrawn at the start on vet's advice while last year's winner, Anseanachai Cliste, stood too far off at the second fence and unseated his rider.

Out Sam looked the likely winner for a second successive year, jumping the last and clear but was forced wide at the bottom of the hill by the riderless horse, allowing his stable companion and favourite Poormans Hill to hit the front and stayed on strongly.

Tulsa Jack ran on late to again finish runner up in the race, relegating Out Sam to third.

Gordon Elliott, who won the feature in 2015 with Riverside City and was surpassing his total of winners last year with a 1-3 in the Nationa,l said: "Poormans Hill this place. Out Sam ran well too so we are happy. Out Sam would have been a good second if he wasn't wiped out but he ran a good race.

"Poormans Hill is still in the Irish National and if he snuck into it, you never know, he'd take his chance."

On reaching 194 winners for the season, Elliott added: "It's unbelievable. Obviously we trained 193 last year which Willie Mullins had done before and we levelled it. I'm just unfortunate I'm around the same time as Willie Mullins! It's great for Irish racing, though." T

The winner is owned by Vincent and Kathleen Caldwell, the local family having a long association with northern racing while the winner was winning his seventh race for connections.

The first race of the season at Downpatrick saw odds favourite Caro Des Flos try to make all with David Mullins replacing the injured Paul Townend. However, Davy Russell waited until after the final flight before guiding Percy to a winning run.

Trainer Elliott said: "He definitely wants better ground so he might be a horse we'll keep for Punchestown."

Russell adopted front running tactics on the Henry De Bromhead trained Game War which justified support of 4/1 to 2/1 favourite in the Rated Hurdle Race to record a quick double.

Russell, this year's leading jockey at Cheltenham, said: "He stuck at it well and didn't mind the ground at all."

Isodon and A Place A Part fought out the finish of the handicap hurdle - the former fitted with first time blinkers prevailing for Gordon Elliott and Katie O'Farrell.

The locally trained Quickasyoucan gave a bold front running display in the handicap chase only to be caught on the line by Shanklys Dawn and denied by a nose. Dual Northern Champion rider Mark O'Hare made all on Timewaitsfornoone to beat current Northern Champion Noel McParlan on He Knows My Name in the hunterchase.

Champion trainer Willie Mullins got on the score board when Get a Reason, with his son Patrick aboard, claimed the bumper.

Derrylin trainer David Christie won the final race at Ascot yesterday when Ulster born David Maxwell partnered his own horse Marinero to victory.

Belfast Telegraph

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