Speckled Wood shows his class at Thurles
SPECKLED WOOD upheld family honour with a poignant victory in the Holy Cross Mares Maiden Hurdle at Thurles.
She is the first foal of Like-A-Butterfly, the fine Grade One winner over both hurdles and fences who died from colic very recently.
Speckled Wood, who is also owned by JP McManus and trained by Christy Roche, had been placed in both her previous runs, also at the Tipperary course, and went off the 8-11 favourite for this minor event.
Alan Crowe picked off the Davy Russell-ridden Ma Belle Amie and she eventually stretched well clear.
"She jumped and travelled away and did it well," said McManus' racing manager Frank Berry.
"Her two runs here previously were nice and she likes jumping. She'll go for a handicap or a winners of one next.
"It's nice to have one in the family coming along after her mother passing away."
Ruby Walsh was on hand to bag a quick double for the Willie Mullins stable, starting by helping Rolly Baby (5-2 favourite) justify an absence of more than 800 days in the thurles.ie Maiden Hurdle.
Are Ya Right Chief (4-1), who has been a frustrating sort over timber, finally got himself off the mark under a strong Walsh ride when heading 11-4 favourite Davy From Milan in the Cashel Maiden Hurdle.
Denis Hogan saddled the winner of the Clonmore Handicap Hurdle as Luke's Benefit (6-1) made all under Brian Cawley while the trainer himself rode sixth-placed Drishogue Boy for Noel Brett.
"Brian won on him before and we decided to claim from him. He needs every chance as he's getting older," said Hogan.
"He's getting high in the ratings and I've nothing mapped out for him."
Hogan had another winner, ridden by himself, when Missie Ella (11-2) took the Littleton Handicap Hurdle.
Vincent Row took a tired fall at the last in desperate conditions to leave the Killinan Handicap Hurdle at the mercy of Unoccupied (10-1).