Gutsy Slievecorragh earns Cork feature for flood
Francis Flood's Slievecorragh recorded his fifth win over timber with a battling display in the featured JP McManus Hurdle at Cork yesterday.
The six-year-old's last start in the National Hunt sphere was at the Punchestown Festival in April, but fit from a run on the Flat at Galway last week, the 3/1 chance was ridden prominently by Mark Walsh.
Cloone Rocket looked a major danger and even poked his head in front approaching the final flight, only for Slievecorragh to come back for more and get the better of the argument by a length and a quarter.
Flood was represented by his son, Fran, who said: "He had to battle well to win, but he was entitled to win on ratings. I think he can still win a race on the Flat but there's no real plans for him next."
McManus did not have a runner in the race named after him but still had a successful day, with trainer Niall 'Boots' Madden providing him with two winners.
Firstly, well-backed 2/1 favourite Salesin completed a hat-trick in the Cork Handicap Hurdle, pulling away in the home straight to score by 15 lengths under the trainer's son Niall 'Slippers' Madden.
"I was surprised Salesin won as there is a cut in the ground here and all his best form had been on firm ground," said Madden Snr. "He may go back chasing soon."
The Maddens and McManus went on to complete their brace in the Mallow Hurdle as 7/2 chance Ainama made an impressive debut for the yard.
The six-year-old had failed to live up to his early promise in the latter stages of his stint with Nicky Henderson, but this nine-length romp showed he still retains plenty of ability.
"I have had Ainama since his last run at Punchestown and the manner in which he won surprised me," Madden said. "He wasn't working brilliantly and I was more hopeful than confident he would win. I've no plans."
Tim Doyle's Cnoc Rua has a date at the Doncaster Sales today following his easy win in the opening maiden hurdle. Ridden by Mike Darcy, the son of Redback made all for a five-and-a-half-length win over Delphi Mountain.