Walsh doubles up to claim Thurles honours
Published 28/01/2016 | 02:30
Veteran Co Cork handler John Joe Walsh was the man to follow at Thurles, where the Doneraile-based trainer landed a 35/1 double.
Walsh struck first with Nine Stitches, which revelled in the testing conditions to capture the two-mile maiden hurdle in convincing fashion.
The eight-year-old was always prominent and the 5/1 shot started to pull clear of his rivals after the third-last flight. At the line, Brian O'Connell's mount was 27 lengths in front of the consistent if frustrating Stuccodor.
The Willie Mullins-trained 8/15 favourite Berry Des Aulmes proved a big disappointment for punters as the Gigginstown House-owned market leader failed to settle and trailed home fourth after making mistakes.
Walsh completed his brace in the staying handicap hurdle, in which Philip Enright steered his recent Limerick winner to a comfortable six-length success from Toushan at odds of 5/1.
Davy Russell - runner-up aboard Stuccodor earlier - went one better in the staying maiden hurdle as Oscar Lantern justified 11/10 favouritism for Charles Byrnes, the gelding overcoming a final flight error to beat Gran Cavallo by a length and a half.
The opening Leugh Maiden Hurdle saw a gutsy display from the Joseph Murphy-trained Swamp Fox (7/4), which dug deep under David Mullins to see off odds-on favourite Cradle Mountain and Never Again by a half-length and a neck.
The JP McManus colours were carried to victory by the Christy Roche-trained Dragon Khan (6/1), which finally broke his maiden tag at the 28th attempt in the two-mile handicap hurdle. The blinkered seven-year-old travelled well for Jody McGarvey to record a six-and-a-half-length win from Knockraha Pylon.