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Rashaan nips in at finish to steal feature from Wakea

By Ron McKnight

The feature at Down Royal was only decided in the last strides as Rashaan with Sean Flanagan aboard was delivered to perfection to catch Wakea which had made all the running.

The Colin Kidd horse was recording his third victory at the course while the runner up had claimed the feature hurdle at last year's Festival.

Colin Kidd said: "He got there - he got the job done! Sean (Flanagan) said they didn't go quick enough for him, if they had gone quicker he would have been better. We could nearly call him a course specialist at this stage."

Flanagan was completing a double having sprang a surprise aboard Bosco Di Alco when claiming the Tayto Hurdle for trainer, Liz Doyle. The complexion of the race altered several times in the closing stages.

Favourite, Thermistocles was always prominent but faded rapidly after two out as Creadon Grae lead and looked set for victory but a good jump at the last saw the winner hit the front and score going away and looks a progressive type.

Liz Doyle said: "You'd be in the poor house if you followed this horse since he won his bumper here!

Father and son duo, Ted and Ruby Walsh combined to claim the opener with Minnie Dahill. The winner comprehensively reversed form with several others winning with ease after leading at the final flight. The well supported Vision D'ete filled second.

Katie Walsh representing her father Ted said "She appreciated that nicer ground. She jumped super and that always helps!"

A massive leap at final flight sealed victory for the locally owned Dixie Lee in the mares hurdle. The winner [10/1 to 4/1] partnered by Mark Enright for trainer, Dermot McLaughlin is owned by Draperstown based PJ Conway.

The winner always travelled easily and challenged between horses prior to the last to beat Delay Eloquence.

"Mark (Enright) said she had plenty and came alive at the third last when he gave her a squeeze," said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin doubled up on the night when Conor Maxwell guided Uptake to success in the Hovis Hurdle.

Paddy's Orient [25/1 to 9/2] despite second over the penultimate hurdle flattered to deceive as Sierra Law with Barry John Foley aboard proved the convincing winner of the handicap hurdle beating favourite Boytonrath. The winner is trained by Karl Thornton who has an excellent strike record at the track.

Karl Thornton said: "He's been getting there. He's only four and maybe still a bit weak of himself and is still learning the game. A typical flat horse, it takes a few runs over hurdles to get into the game."

Long odds on favourite, True Self stormed home to win the finale for team Mullins.

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