Caesar slain as Force Of Habit gets Weld off to customary strong start
The week had started predictably enough as habitual leading Galway trainer Dermot Weld and Paul Townend combined with dual Flat scorer Force Of Habit to turn impending defeat into an exciting success in the Hotel Meyrick Novice Hurdle.
In his element on a much faster surface, Force Of Habit delighted the master of Rosewell House when coping admirably with the good to yielding going and responding well to a strong drive from teenager Townend to overhaul Hail Caesar close home.
"This is a tough horse and he got a very good ride from Paul," said Weld.
"The ground can't be that bad out there and I expect Force Of Habit will be back for a mile and a half handicap or a similar race over two miles later in the week."
Third aboard Northern Rocker on his comeback after an ankle injury, Davy Russell wasted no time in getting back into the winning groove in the Jurys Inn Handicap Hurdle after setting out to make all the running on Kalellshan from the Charles Byrnes stable.
Not sighted on his debut for Byrnes behind Split Ear at Sligo earlier this month, the 8/1 chance left that effort very much in the shade here when enjoying himself in isolation up front and then battling bravely from the final flight as Total Excitement loomed up.
"Making the running was the key for this horse and he's entered again later in the week, although he might be gone too high now for the amateur handicap hurdle on Friday evening," remarked Ballingarry, Limerick-based Byrnes, who has resigned himself to campaigning next season without his stable star and dual Cheltenham hero Weapon's Amnesty due to a slight setback.
The Eddie Lynam-trained Notalossonya, running in the colours of Madeline McMahon -- mother of prominent bookmaker Luke McMahon -- ran out the two-length winner of the ghotel.ie & hotelmeyrick.ie Handicap at Galway.
Ridden by Wayne Lordan, the son of Cadeaux Genereux tracked the leaders, led entering the straight before proving too strong for Sailors Warn inside the final furlong.
And later on, the evening finished as it had started as Weld managed to close out the meeting when Robbie McNamara showed all his experience as he got the favourite Fort Defiance home in a driving finish to the bumper from main market rival Apt Manor.