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Short delighted with Down Royal success

 

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Big battle: Adam Short on board So Near So Far (right) on his way to victory at Down Royal yesterday

Big battle: Adam Short on board So Near So Far (right) on his way to victory at Down Royal yesterday

Big battle: Adam Short on board So Near So Far (right) on his way to victory at Down Royal yesterday

So Near So Far, trained at Crossgar by Colin McBratney, was produced to perfection to win the Mares Handicap Hurdle at Down Royal yesterday and supply success for Comber-based owner James Murdoch.

So Near So Far made progress from three out and fought out the finish with Reine Fee to score in a photo finish. Jockey Adam Short said: "I rode her in a schooling hurdle when Colin got her and loved her. She's learned a lot from maiden hurdles."

McBratney added: "Adam gave her a smashing ride. I thought it might be a bit sharp for her. It will depend what the handicapper does where we go next."

Down Royal survived a morning inspection and the opener supplied a shock 100/1 winner.

Port Stanley looked set for success, however a bad mistake at the final flight ended his claims, and Department Of War capitalised and was delivered to score by Kevin Brouder.

Winning trainer David Dunne said: "He's been working extremely well. I suppose you wanted a graded horse to win that race. He's a very hardy horse - very professional. I saw him at the sales and thought he was gorgeous and bought him for £3,000. I haven't thought beyond today but he'll only run on yielding to soft ground."

Top jockey Mark Walsh rode a waiting race on the Padraig Roche-trained Castle Oliver prior to producing the winner of the Novice Handicap Chase at the final fence.

Walsh said: "Hopefully he'll continue to improve. When I gave him a squeeze I thought he was going to get there easily, but he winged the last two fences. He won a bumper for Joseph O'Brien and perhaps the change of scenery has helped."

The leading Irish owner doubled up when Omagh jockey Simon Torrens gave the Niall Madden-trained Golden Sunset a polished ride to win the Handicap Chase.

Torrens said: "It might not have been the best race on paper but he stuck his head out where it mattered. I'm delighted with that. He wouldn't be the quickest in the world but he travelled okay."

The Dermot McLoughlin-trained Opposites Attract justified favouritism when recording back-to-back victories at the track with Conor Maxwell aboard.

McLoughlin said: "I knew from the last he would win when Conor got at him. I have just entered him into a few races at the Cheltenham Festival."

The Gavin Cromwell-trained Jurby registered an easy victory in the Handicap Chase with jockey Jonathan Moore aboard.

Moore said: "Gavin's horses are all running well. We know he stays all day and handles that ground. As soon as he got his head in front he started winging fences."

Racing concluded with another shock result when 66/1 chance Lady Heath, trained by Lorna Fowler, flew home under Tom Love to claim the Bumper.

Meanwhile, Dune Of Pilat looked a highly-promising three-year-old as he landed a facile victory for O'Brien in the Bombardier Golden Beer Novice Stakes at Southwell.

O'Brien said: "We're delighted with him. He did it nicely, and Shane gave him a nice ride.

"We thought it would be a good experience for him."

Belfast Telegraph