Sligo double for Carroll
Gary Carroll drew level with Ben Curtis in the race for the Irish apprentice championship after having two winners to his rival's one at Sligo yesterday.
The Kildare rider struck first on Going Gaga for Michael Mulvany in the nursery, beating Ceist Nua by a short head. Ironically, it was on Curtis's recommendation at Fairyhouse last time that Mulvany try blinkers on Going Gaga. "The blinkers worked and Gary said he stuck his head out in the last furlong," said the Co Meath trainer.
Curtis regained his lead briefly when guiding 33/1 Raise The Rafters to victory in the maiden.
He made all on Tom Hogan's charge to score. "He wouldn't settle in bumpers and when we worked him at home from the front, decent horses were finding it hard to get by him," said Hogan.
Then Carroll made it all square again by completing a 98/1 double on Walter De La Mare (10/1) in the Foley's Bar & Off Licence Sligo Handicap. It was a close-run thing as John Joseph Murphy's course and distance winner held off Golden Nugget and Palm Ridge by a neck and a head.
Arthur Moore had his first two-year-old winner on the Flat for about 30 years when Gentleman Duke landed the opening auction maiden. The Fran Berry-ridden youngster scored by seven lengths.
Ruby Walsh made the journey to the north-west worthwhile as he guided hot favourite Prince Erik to victory in the concluding Yeats Beginners Steeplechase.
Walsh had to keep the son of Indian Ridge up to his work on the final circuit and Dermot Weld's grey eventually accounted for Mulberry Boy, which made a mistake two out, and Kirbybroguelantern.
By The Hour landed the Cleveragh Road Handicap Steeplechase under Philip Enright for trainer Robert Tyner.