Commanders leads from front to set up Russell double
Davy Russell was in fine form at Thurles yesterday, producing a quickfire double on Four Commanders and Crash.
Four Commanders was sent off a well-backed 5/4 favourite in the Holy Cross Maiden Hurdle and Mouse Morris' charge duly obliged with an all-the-way win.
Shifa and Bobowen threw down challenges at the second last, but Four Commanders galloped on strongly and went on to the beat the former by a length and three-quarters.
"He's a full-brother to Kicking King and won like that today," said Morris. "I've no real plans but he's a horse to go chasing with next year."
Russell completed his brace on Crash, trained by Michael Hourigan, in the Cashel Maiden Hurdle, but it was a much closer call.
Lambro put in a determined challenge and Crash was all out to hold his fellow 13/8 joint favourite by a short head.
"He's a nice horse to look forward to. He has the size and strength to be a chaser," said Hourigan. "He's won a point-to-point, a bumper and now a hurdle. I'd imagine he'll go chasing next season."
The Gordon Elliott-trained Martin Scruff landed a gamble in the Littleton Handicap Hurdle under a confident ride by Paul Carberry on his first start since leaving Mick Quinlan's Newmarket stable.
Supported down to 5/4 favourite from an early 11/4, the five-year-old cruised into the lead before the last and won easily by three lengths from Harbour View.
"That went according to plan. He's in again next week (at Punchestown) and will probably run there under a penalty before he gets reassessed," said Elliott.
Galant Ferns, trained by Liam Kenny, was a shock 66/1 winner in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners' Chase, though the race lost some of its interest when the 6/4 favourite Killultagh Queen was withdrawn on the veterinarian's advice at the start of the event.
This three-mile chase provided the recently deceased sire Bob Back with a clean sweep as he was responsible for the placed horses Back Me Up and Bobs Display as well as the winner.