Joey Sasa was the clear winner of the feature at Downpatrick writes Joe Kavanagh. The defection of two runners saw only a trio go to post with the favourite facing two Michael O’Leary owned runners but the Noel Meade trained winner with Jonathan Moore in the saddle having finished fourth in the Galway Hurdle last time proved a class act for connections.
Noel Meade said: “We’ll probably go for one of those good handicaps. The ground is usually very heavy at Ascot for their big handicap hurdle so it’s probably unlikely he will go there. It’s more likely he will go to Fairyhouse.”
Out Of Loop looked an above average winner of the opener for owner, JP Mc Manus and trainer Christy Roche. The impressive victor was content to track the leading pair prior to hitting the front before the last with Mark Walsh aboard and denied the Ruby Walsh partnered odds on favourite, Sympa Des Flos.
Mark Walsh said: “He has improved from his last run. I don’t know how good a race it was but they went a good gallop and it suited him. He jumped great and I got there easily at the second last and he just went about his business.”
Jockey Jack Kennedy had a good day and kept it simple when making all to win on Monkshood for trainer Gordon Elliott. Gordon Elliott added: “He’s actually a nice horse. We have plenty of horses backed up to run in maiden hurdles so we said we better start running a few of them. He’s a big chaser in the making and will be a grand horse. Whatever he does will be a bonus before he goes jumping fences. He’ll stay all day.”
Elliott and Kennedy quickly doubled up when Poormans Hill completed a hat trick of wins in the long distance MB McGrady and Co Accountants Handicap Hurdle. Kennedy waited until leading after the final flight for a runaway victory.
Elliott said “It was a poor race and he has just about won. He has won three races so job done. I wouldn’t say he is a winter horse, if we get another race out of him it would be job done.” Canny Tom stayed on best in the closing stages to land the beginners chase with Keith Donoghue in the saddle to give Elliott a treble.
The Dessie McDonagh-trained Alterno showed his liking for the local track when recording a repeat success with Ger Fox aboard. The Elliott-trained Boudry supported from 5/1 to 9/4 favourite could only manage to finish fifth.
Mc Donagh said: “He loves to be in charge and that boy (Ger Fox ) gave him a super ride. He did everything he was told. I was confident. He likes it here and if you like it here you have a chance of going again.”
Father and son duo, Philip and Luke Dempsey combined to win the last race of the year at the track with Dinnie’s Vinnie which kept on best in the closing stages. The winning trainer said: “It will probably be more of the same but he is in an amateur race at Punchestown next week over three miles one which would suit him. We’ll see how he comes out of this, it might be a bit soon.”