Windermere lords it for Culloty
Lord Windermere got back in the winning groove after falling short in Grade One company last time when taking the opener at Naas.
Fourth in the Deloitte at Leopardstown after two wins in a lesser grade, Jim Culloty's six-year-old galloped on resolutely to lift the www.naasracecourse.com Novice Hurdle.
Tom Doyle brought Lord Windermere to lead between the final two flights and the 5-2 joint-favourite went on to score by three lengths from his main market rival Ballynacree, with Ballysteen third.
Culloty said: "He'd have gone to Cheltenham had we had a deluge of rain. That was the only reason he was entered. He wasn't going to go on fastish ground. He's a chaser through and through. It's just a case of keeping him in one piece until he goes novice chasing in the autumn.
"I'm glad my horse has done it and run his race. He's going on to Fairyhouse in a month's time for a Grade Two over two and half miles.Then he's going out in the fields and in October you'll see him in Punchestown in a two-and-a-half-mile novice chase."
Up For The Match, owned by J P McManus, showed he was one step ahead of the assessor when defying a 16lb hike in the ratings to take the Naas Supporters Handicap Hurdle in his stride.
Raised after getting off the mark at Gowran three weeks ago, the John Kiely-trained five-year-old made his bid at the final flight. The 4-1 favourite, ridden by Alan Crowe, put the race to bed with a comfortable success by four and a quarter lengths over Shamiran in a field of 24.
Kiely said: "Up For The Match keeps improving and he liked that drying ground. He'll be a nice chaser in a year and if the ground stays safe he'll go to Punchestown."
Declan Bates made the most of a spare ride to steer Great Value (25-1) to a surprise victory in the Follow Naas On Facebook Beginners Chase. The 5lb claimer, replacing the injured Roger Loughran, produced the Dessie Hughes-trained seven-year-old late to collar Spanish Auriga and win by four lengths.
Hughes said: "Great Value has had some reasonable runs but didn't handle the heavy ground during the winter. He'll go handicapping now. The plan coming here today was to try to get placed and to go to the Doncaster May Sale, and he might still go there."