Plains swoops fast and late for just reward
Green and gold colours were flying high in Kerry yesterday, but this time they were the famous silks of JP McManus as his Princeton Plains captured the featured Ladbrokes.com Handicap Hurdle for trainer Eddie Harty.
Having just his fifth start over hurdles, jockey Niall Madden produced the son of Tagula with an excellently timed run from off the pace to edge out the gallant Idarah by a head.
The winner was breaking his maiden tag having being placed at Fairyhouse, Gowran and Punchestown on his last three starts. Top weight Fosters Cross ran a cracker to finish just two lengths back in third. Favourite Pozyc, for Willie Mullins, finished in sixth.
"It was a long time coming but it was worth it when it did," Harty said. "He was unfortunate on his last run to come up against a good horse (second to Nearest the Pin at Fairyhouse), but this is good compensation for that.
"Captain Cee Bee was my last winner in Killarney and hopefully this fella might be as good as him."
Psycho bounced back to his best in the conditions chase, galloping to an easy seven-length victory, completing a quick double on the card for his trainer Tony Martin.
The seven-time winner was always travelling well and was barely asked a question by his rider Andrew McNamara as he raced away from his rivals after the last to score at the generous odds of 13/2.
Aran Concerto ran his best race for a while to finish second at 5/1 with Schelm back in third. The 11/10 favourite Apt Approach for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh had plenty to do when unseating at the third last.
Martin had earlier initiated his brace with the victory of first reserve Sensational Sema, which took advantage of his late inclusion by landing the Kelly Brothers Farm Handicap Hurdle for Walsh.
McNamara also went on to record a double as he guided Benalma to victory for Pauline Gavin in the Flesk Valley Rowing Club Handicap Chase. The son of Beneficial held off the late run of Sharadi to win by a length and three parts, with Information in third.
The opening maiden hurdle went to well-backed favourite Scottish Boogie for jockey Davy Russell and trainer Charles Byrnes. Backed from 5/1 in the morning into 7/4 favourite, the son of Tobougg gave his supporters scares with mistakes at both the second last and last, but pulled out more on the run-in to catch City Line and win by three parts of a length.
At Navan, Orchestra Leader ran out an unlikely winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Race for the David Wachman stable.
Boris Grigoriev was sent off the 4/7 favourite after winning at Tipperary last time out and the Ballydoyle juvenile looked to have the race in the bag when he went clear a furlong out.
But he stopped to nothing despite all Joseph O'Brien's urgings, and Orchestra Leader swept past under Wayne Lordan to take the spoils by a length and a quarter, with Snowflake Dancer snatching second.
Haziyna is improving by leaps and bounds judged on her swashbuckling show in the feature Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap.
John Oxx's three-year-old went up by more than a stone after flashing home at Leopardstown in March and the 2/1 shot showed her subsequent Dundalk defeat was all wrong as she burst five and a half lengths clear when unleashed by Ben Curtis this time.
Nantucket Bay and 1/3 favourite Wakhan filled the first two slots from the start in the 13-furlong maiden and they were still there at the finish.
They were locked in a duel coming down the straight and the Joseph O'Brien-ridden Nantucket Bay (7/2), trained by his father Aidan, came out best by a length.
Ger Lyons' well-backed 6/4 favourite Casbah Rock recorded his third victory from five starts in the last month in the Trim Handicap.