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Sports masters Naas rivals

Sportsmaster bounced back from his hurdling debut mishap by landing the Racing Again On 21st January Maiden Hurdle at Naas.

Edward O'Grady's recruit only made it as far as the fourth obstacle on his first start in this sphere, but he was sent off the 2-5 favourite to get off the mark at the second time of asking.

Mark Walsh sent the JP McManus-owned four-year-old to the front from an early stage and though main market rival Hisaabaat did his best to bridge the gap after jumping the final flight, Sportsmaster was always doing enough and had a length in hand passing the post.

Stan James introduced Sportsmaster at 25-1 for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Peter Casey's Flemenstar got the better of a battle with Lambro to take top honours in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase.

Impressive Navan winner Flemenstar may have headed the morning markets, but sustained support for the Willie Mullins-trained Lambro saw him sent off the 11-10 favourite.

Andrew Lynch was first to commit for home on Flemenstar, but Lambro and Ruby Walsh followed him into the straight and the two settled down to fight it out. Lambro kept at it under pressure, but 6-5 chance Flemenstar was too strong.

Casey said: "He will go to Leopardstown for the Arkle (January 29) now. He wants a bit further. The ground was desperate and he probably didn't like it. He did it well when it came down to it. He got under the last a bit. It's grand to have a good one like him."

Prolific winner Luke's Benefit (11-4) took the Tipper Road Handicap Chase under a cool ride from trainer and rider Denis Hogan.

He said: "He was probably all out. They weren't going as quick as I thought they would so I let him stride on from five out. He likes to dictate things so it was nice to let him go on. I don't know where he will go next, we will see what the handicapper does with him."


From Belfast Telegraph