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Sarah casts a Magic spell on day of local delight at Down Royal


Rock steady: Drummullagh Rocky (centre), ridden by Eoin Walsh, wins the fifth race at Down Royal yesterda
Rock steady: Drummullagh Rocky (centre), ridden by Eoin Walsh, wins the fifth race at Down Royal yesterda

By Ron McKnight

Banbridge trainer Sarah Dawson registered at local victory at Down Royal when Magic Sea, backed down from 25s to 9/1, proved an easy winner of the Adare Hurdle - revelling in the wind and rainswept conditions.

It is two years since the local runner was in the winners' enclosure having won a nursery at the course in September 2017. The winner was ridden with confidence by Eoin Walsh and produced to perfection.

Dawson said: "He won here as a two-year-old on similar ground, so I knew that the course and ground were okay for him, but he's just been very frustrating. There have been a few times where I thought he should have won, but it just hasn't happened for whatever reason. I'm so pleased it's happened here today at our local track."

Locals filled the first two places in the handicap chase. Eoin Walsh completed a double when making all on Drummullagh Rock (25s to 16/1) to deny Pegase Amour, the winner trained by Cabra based Sean McParlan.

The hunter's chase, which has produced future winners of the Cheltenham Festival, including the local Tammy's Hill and dual winner On The Fringe, supplied a third local victory when 25/1 chance Dylrow stayed on from the rear to lead at the final fence - triumphing with a real flourish with Jordan Gainsford aboard the David Christie winner.

A very high-class renewal of the race saw Cheltenham Festival winner Black Hercules attempt to make all while Irish Gold Cup winner Edwulf could only manage third. The winner is owned by Ray Nicholas, a long-time member of the Down Royal Corporation and major supporter of Derrylin based Christie in partnership with Dr Sam Campbell.

Christie said: "I'm delighted. It was the most competitive renewal of this race ever. Ray Nicholas has been with me a long time and I'm thrilled for him. We'll discuss future plans but the big hunter chases would be on the agenda."

Favourite backers were content as Russian Diamond, partnered by Mikey Fogarty, travelled easily behind the leaders prior to the Emmett Mullins horse challenging at the elbow and soon had the race in safe keeping.

Mullins said: "He's a horse we've always thought a lot of and it's great to come here for this auction series. It's been good to us so fingers crossed he can follow Zero Ten's path and all roads can lead to the final of the series at the Punchestown festival."

The opener saw the locally trained Legacy Thor attempt to make all only to fade in the testing conditions as the well supported favourite Opposites Attract, with Conor Maxwell aboard the Dermot McLaughlin trained winner, took control.

Second, third and fourth were all locally trained.

Racing concluded when £260,000 purchase FaroukD'Alene gave a solo impressive performance under Jamie Codd - making all to give trainer Gordon Elliott a double on the day, having sent out Isle Of Destiny to claim the handicap chase by a wide margin.

Belfast Telegraph


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