Duo's misfortune gifts race to Dream Function
DREAM FUNCTION was a fortunate winner on her first start for Colm Murphy at Clonmel.
The mare looked a smart novice hurdler for Philip Hobbs before pulling up at Newbury last November and was sent off a 6/1 chance on her fencing debut in the Kilsheelan Beginners Chase, which produced a race full of drama.
The Real Article crashed out early and then Cadspeed came down at the last with the race seemingly in safe keeping, leaving Dream Function to coast home 12 lengths clear of Mazuri Cowboy in the hands of Robbie Power.
Murphy said: "Robert said she hated the ground and that she'd be a nicer mare on better ground. She might go for a novice at Christmas time. I have her for a couple of months and she's a full-sister to Captain Chris."
Willie Mullins suffered an odds-on defeat when Fatcatinthehat could manage only second in the opener.
Fatcatinthehat was sent off at 4/9 under Ruby Walsh, but he could not get past Crouching Harry after being produced with every chance at the last and Eoin Doyle's charge, which was having its fifth outing over timber, knuckled down well to score by half a length under Michael Butler.
Glens Melody and Ballycasey delivered in fine style for Mullins and his son, Patrick, later on the card, however.
Second to Minsk on her hurdling bow at Punchestown, classy bumper performer Glens Melody was on the shoulder of long-time leader Moyas Charm from the drop of the flag in the Mares Maiden Hurdle.
Mullins Jnr eased the 1/8 chance into the lead coming to the last and she skipped six and a half lengths clear of Moyas Charm, which boxed on well to hold Tukawhile for second.
Ballycasey (4/6 favourite) was another effortless winner for the Mullins' partnership in the concluding race.
The jockey is on course to claim a record number of winners for an amateur in a calendar year.
He now needs six more victories to beat a record set by Billy Parkinson around 100 years ago.
Playing took the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle on his first public outing in 542 days.
Not disgraced at Roscommon on his only previous run for Tom Foley, the French import was a well-supported 7/2 joint-favourite and didn't let his supporters down in the capable hands of Shane Butler.
Foley said: "We had to be patient with him. He was off for two years and he'd fractured a hind leg. He has that screwed now.
"I didn't tell the owner he was running until this morning. If he stays sound he'll be alright. He had a good reputation.
"He doesn't mind the heavy but he's impossible to get fit. He's like the rest of us when you're getting older in years."