The Words Of Windsor gelding Foildubh returned to a heroes welcome after he turned over the odds on favourite Rubi Ball in the extended two mile and six conditions hurdle at Thurles on Thursday.
Owned and trained near Templemore by John Ryan the nine year old has been a great servant to connections and is equally at home over hurdles and fences.
His biggest payday came when he landed a Grade2 Chase at Punchestown in the capable hands of Paul Carberry, the latter was again in the plate after his recent return to action after undergoing surgery on a troublesome shoulder and was his artistic best.
Having arrived from France to join the Willie Mullins yard with a lofty reputation Rubi Ball was backed as if defeat was out of the question and rider Ruby Walsh threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the field right from the drop of the flag by setting off in front.
He was far from fluent at his some of his hurdles and the wise old Owl Carberry decided to take him on from before the halfway stage.
To his credit Rubi Ball battled manfully but after jumping the final flight in unison Carberry coaxed enough out of Foildubh to land the spoils by a head with Seefood a further five and a half lengths in areers in third place.
There is nothing like a big local success to bring the best out of the natives and they certainly gave it the full Monte as the winning combination returned to the unsaddling enclosure.
In his post race remarks Ryan revealed that the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown is now very much on the agenda, however, the trainer is adamant that much depends on Carberry’s schedule as Foildubh seems to go better for the rider than anybody else.
Willie Mullins seldom leaves the venue handed and he was on the mark earlier when Lucky Bridle justified favouritism in the two mile maiden hurdle for 4.y.o’s.
An expensive failure on his Irish debut at Punchestown the son of Dylan Thomas was badly interfered with that day and punters were in a forgiving mood and gave him a second chance which he duly accepted.
Horendus Hulabaloo from the Mouse Morris stable led briefly before Lucky Bridle pulled his way to the front after negotiating the opening flight of hurdles.
Jockey Ruby Walsh wisely allowed him to bowl along and the combination never saw another rival as they passed the winning post three and threequarter lengths to the good from the Aidan O’Brien runner Shield which incidentally is another son of Dylan Thomas.
Mullins told me that his charge is still very green but the run will bring him on in leaps and bounds, he has nothing fancy in mind for the horse until he gains more experience.
Mouse Morris will hardly ever saddle more fortunate winner that Baily Dusk who took a grief stricken two mile and six 85-115 handicap chase under Bryan Cooper.
Starting favourite the seven year old took command as early as the second fence but was under strong pressure and booked for second place when The Blarney Rose tipped up at the last fence leaving Baily Dusk to come home eight lengths clear of Tico.
This was cruel luck on the connections of The Blarney Rose and he amateur jockey Brian Crowley as the Oscar mare was clearly going best from before the home turn and such opportunities like this do not present themselves very often.
That said the old adage of fences are there to be jumped were certainly true and in this respect the winner did his job well.
He was a shade unlucky at the venue the previous week but has been a model of consistency in his recent outings, it looks as though the win d operations which he has undergone have been a huge help and he will now have a little break before tackling something similar.
Bansha born Christie Roche got the meeting off to a flying start by taking the opening beginners chase over two mile and two courtesy of Sitcom under a stylish ride from Mark Walsh.
Given time to find his feet Sitcom gradually wended his way into the race and came with a sustained challenge in the straight to lead over the last and stay on well to defeat Kilcarry Bridge b y a length and a half.
The runner-up who fell on his chasing debut at the venue but subsequently ran well at Cork was strongly supported at fancy prices to give John Ryan what was hoped would be the first leg of a training double, to his credit he ran a fine race only to find one too good on the day but on this evidence a beginners chase is well within his range.
Limerick handler Charles Byrnes landed a tidy gamble when Sea Light comfortable defeated the outsider Faranadooney in the 80-95 handicap hurdle.
Available at 10/1 at morning prices Sea Light tightened right in to 2/1 before the off and never looked in trouble as he led turning to face the judge and had far too many guns for Faranadooney which he defeated by four lengths.
This was a big milestone in the career of winning rider Rob Jones as he rode out his claim and is now a fully fledged jockey, Rathkeale born Jones is a bright young talent but like all jockeys who lose their right to claim he needs backing if he is to maintain his progress up the ranks.