Liam Lennon provided the local victory of the first session of Downpatrick and again the Newry trainer supplied a winner on the second day when I’m An Izz Wizz landed the handicap chase.
The winner had tracked the leaders but joined the front running Ruffino two from home and despite colliding with that runner at the fence soon shot clear and battled best in the closing under jockey, Johnny Slevin. The mare owned and bred by County Down based John Turner repelled the strong challenges of TB Broke Her and fast finishing Solar Heat close to the line.
John Turner said: “He’s a top of the ground horse and today suited him and we had a fair idea he was spot on. We weren’t 100 per cent sure if it wouldn’t be a bit sharp for him over two miles three. He’s a dual point-to-point winner over three miles. Johnny Slevin gave him a great ride. He had to be bang there as he doesn’t find off the bridle.”
William B having his first start for trainer, Gordon Elliott and supported from 7/2 to 11/10 favourite was an easy winner of the handicap hurdle while benefiting from a determined ride from Davy Russell. The winner was handy prior to hitting the front after three out and was keep up to her work in the closing stages.
Gordon Elliott’s assistant trainer Ian Amond said: “That’s his first run for us so hopefully he’ll be a nice horse for the summer that pays his way. He’s been working well at home and we were expecting a good run.. He’ll be kept on the go for any of those summer tracks. Maybe if he keeps improving he might end up at some of the better ones.”
The County Meath trainer and top jockey quickly doubled when Station Closed under a very confident ride claimed the third race. The winner is owned by the Gordon Elliott Racing Club which numbers numerous local members in the syndicate. The winner improved third at the penultimate hurdle and lead at the last and readily accounted for Carlito’s Bay which was backed from 16/1 to start 9/4 favourite.
Davy Russell and Elliott completed a hat track when Cecil Corbett claimed the most valuable race on the card. The runners were tightly bunched throughout however after the last a dour battle developed between Cecil Corbett and Garai Phaidin but Russell’s strength drove the winner to the front close home to prevail by a neck. Ian Amond assistant to Elliott said: “It’s a good day’s work. Myself and Davy were a bit worried about the trip. Gordon was saying to just leave him as late as he could and that’s what he did. When you are riding like that you can’t beat him – It was a peach of a ride!
Elliott was denied a four-timer when the locally trained, Scotch Beg beat 2/5 favourite it’s All Guesswork in the finale. Partnered by Helen Mooney the bumper winner is trained by County Tyrone based Andy Oliver and supplied locals with a double on the day. The winner was not without support having been available at 40/1 was returned 10/1.
Emmet Mullins sent out the runaway winner of the opener. Arbour Des Champs failed to settle in third so David Mullins – a cousin of the trainer decided to let the mare go to front with excellent effect and only a blunder at the penultimate flight gave favourite backers cause for concern. The well supported, Field Robin moved into second at the top of the hill but could get no closer to the easy winner which put her twice runner up places behind her to open her account. David Mullins said: “She could have been tidier with a few jumps she put in that were erratic. She does everything right – she travels well and she’ll get black type [listed company] somewhere along the line.”
Trainer Noel Meade and stable jockey Sean Flanagan got on the score board when Jack Slade gave a game performance to win the handicap chase. Flanagan opted to wait until after the fence at the top of the hill before making his move and joined the ever present Fenlon’s Hill before going clear. Sean Flanagan said: “ He did it well enough – he hasn’t exactly handled the track but when he got to the bottom of the hill and he straightened up he raced to the top of the hill. He’s just a bit of a funny one. Better ground is a big help.”