Damien McElroy's Race Reads: Day 3
1.30 Jewson Handicap Chase: Fourth in the Supreme Novices Hurdle here last year, Copper Bleu finished with a flourish to follow up his Exeter win last month and was good value for his margin over Othermix.
China Rock, which acquitted himself very well, was shadowing the principals for a long way but was tapped for finishing pace and readily overtaken by fellow Irish raider The Midnight Club for third money.
The Midnight Club proved his third over hurdles a year ago was no fluke and this experience should stand to him over a longer trip next time.
2.05 Pertemps Hurdle Final: An all-the-way success for the Pipe veteran Buena Vista which was second in this last year and benefited both from an enterprising ride and first-time blinkers to leave his uninspiring recent form in the shade.
The only semblance of a serious threat was posed by Prince Erik which made a bold bid to defy his higher mark after taking the Irish qualifier at Leopardstown and was kept close to the pace from the outset.
Despite the best efforts of Robert Power, Dermot Weld's versatile grey had to settle for second money as they got the better of Chamirey on the climb to the post with compatriot Smoking Aces a fair sixth.
2.40 Ryanair Chase: A typical forceful ride from Tony McCoy who was never out of the first two aboard Albertas Run which relished the good ground and bounced back to the 2008 level of achievement we saw in the RSA Chase.
This Grade Two winner at Ascot last November saw off the always prominent Deep Purple after two out as the favourite Poquelin and J'y Vole got involved in a barging match around the final bend while in vain pursuit of McCoy's mount.
The placed pair did themselves no favours with Poquelin giving the mare little room at the second last before inching her out of the runner-up spot, with their placings surprisingly confirmed after an enquiry.
Tranquil Sea was the shortest-priced Irish runner but failed to get in a blow and last year's third Schindlers Hunt unseated his rider when trailing as Scotsirish kept going to be sixth.
3.20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle: Quite a few favourite backers got out of jail when Big Buck's turned in another power-packed performance to retain his stayers' title despite the best efforts of Time For Rupert with William Kennedy up.
Any notion that the ground wouldn't suit Ruby Walsh's mount proved wide of the mark as they bore down on the runner-up and a struggling War Of Attrition going to the second last with Powerstation and Ebadiyan close up.
A brief struggle before the last ensued with Time For Rupert before Big Buck's asserted on the run-in with Powerstation filling his customary third berth and Karabak just edging a gallant Ebadiyan out of fourth money.
4.0 Byrne Group Plate
More disappointment for favourite backers materialised here when the penalised Sunnyhillboy only got into top gear in the straight and, although staying on resolutely for Richard McLernon, could not peg back Great Endeavour.
These Irish-breds got contrasting rides with the Pipe-trainer winner never far from the head of affairs and forging away from the pack after two out where the runner-up was only threading his way through the field.
Clear heading to the last, Great Endeavour had poached an advantage that the frantic efforts of McLernon could not manage to wipe out and the veteran front-runner Mister McGoldrick then had to give best for third place to From Dawn To Dusk.
4.40 Kim Muir Handicap Chase
Top weight Ballabriggs benefited from a generous pace set by stable companion Khachaturian, although it was panic stations on the run-in as he began to idle badly.
A winner over this trip last month at Ayr, Ballabriggs was shouldering a 10lb penalty this time in the hands of Cork amateur Richard Harding and deserved to complete his hat-trick for the flourishing McCain stable.
Faasel went close to burgling the spoils as he closed down the faltering winner in company with Galant Nuit.
5.15 Ladies Charity Sweepstake
A low-key end to proceedings with the lady riders completing a lap of the course on the flat which resulted in Prince Picasso getting up as the camera clicked for Orna Madden to catch fellow Irish pilot Kate Doyle on Devil To Pay.