Mullins and Walsh strike
Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh took the hurdling honours at Downpatrick yesterday with a short-priced double through Final Approach and Hampshire Express, writes Thomas Kelly.
Final Approach (4/7) made a winning debut in the opening Sean Graham Bookmakers Maiden Hurdle. The four-year-old scored by nine lengths from Fearnwood Girl.
Mullins' assistant Harold Kirk said: "He will probably go to Punchestown now for one of the four-year-old races. He's a smart horse and he jumped really well."
Walsh made all the running on Hampshire Express in the Saintfield Hurdle, the even-money favourite winning by seven lengths to make amends for his early exit in the Coral Cup.
Ilikeyou, the 11/4 favourite, followed up on her recent win at Downpatrick after she came home in front of the Crossgar Handicap Hurdle in the hands of Luke McNiff.
The Clough Maiden Hunters Chase caused somewhat of a surprise when 14/1 shot The Grey Lord from the William Patton stable took the spoils under Mark O'Hare.
Co Tipperary trainer John Ryan gave his daughter Gillian her first winner on the track after she took the concluding Ballynoe (Pro/Am) Flat Race. Delighted winning trainer Ryan said afterwards: "I'm delighted for Gillian. This is a great little horse."