Ruby Rules the roost for De Bromhead
Ruby Walsh made his visit to Listowel pay off with an easy victory on House Rules in the closing John B Keane Maiden Hurdle yesterday.
Henry de Bromhead's bumper winner was sent off the 8/15 favourite and had an untroubled passage once he took over from Daydah jumping the fourth-last flight. The five-year-old was chased for the rest of the way by Khayar but never looked likely to be caught, and he drew clear after the last to score by 12 lengths.
The Last Don took the Bryan MacMahon (QR) Race to win for the first time since completing a hat-trick in the autumn of 2009 when trained in England. Now with Mick Halford, the five-year-old was sent straight to the front under a sedate pace by his owner Paul McMahon and had plenty left to hold Pires by two and a half lengths.
Liberty's Gift stepped up from his debut second on the Dundalk all-weather to take the median auction maiden in the hands of Padraig Beggy. Paul Flynn's three-year-old was always prominent and was rousted along to lead inside the final furlong before holding off McMonagle's late run by a head.
Jessica Harrington's lightly raced Royal Blue Star (11/2) looks to be on the upgrade judging by her emphatic victory in the George Fitzmaurice Handicap. A winner at Navan last time, she was put up 6lb but it had no impact as she led all the way under Shane Foley to score by two lengths.
There was a desperately tight finish to the Jackie & Gene Handicap, in which Ben Curtis forced John Larkin's Tres Froide (7/1) past Arakango by a short head.
At Kilbeggan, Dermot Weld was among the winners as his Daffern Seal galloped away with the opening maiden hurdle in the hands of Robbie McNamara despite being off the track for 519 days. The seven-year-old cut out the running throughout with Granaruid and cantered clear by 13 lengths.
Jockey Eddie O'Connell completed a double when Keoghs Bar landed a gamble in the beginners' chase for Irene Monaghan's yard -- justifying market support (20/1 to 14/1) to edge out Deputy Consort by a head. O'Connell had earlier partnered Eoin Griffin's Moi Desire to victory in the mares' hurdle.