Wednesday 17 January 2018

Competitive has the edge

Mark Walsh
Mark Walsh

Competitive Edge gave leading owner JP McManus a nice boost ahead of the Cheltenham Festival when readily taking the feature Shamrock Handicap Chase at Gowran Park.

Mark Walsh led the main bunch for most of the way on Conor O'Dwyer's 13-2 chance behind a breakaway quartet, and he crept into contention at the business end of the race in the testing conditions.

Leading going to the second-last, Competitive Edge had plenty in the locker and cleared away to beat the always prominent Orpheus Valley by six and a half lengths. Nina Carberry was out of luck with her first runner as a trainer as Peak Raider was pulled up.

O'Dwyer said: "I'm thrilled with the result. It's great to win a pot like that. He's improving and he's only six, so he's one to look forward to. To handle today's ground was a bonus. He travelled and jumped super. We'll look to Fairyhouse and Punchestown and he'll go into a big green field then."

McManus and Walsh were completing a double after Enda Bolger introduced highly regarded point-to-point winner Marlbrook for an impressive victory in the 'Tetratema - Son Of The Tetrarch' Maiden Hurdle.

Walsh allowed the 4-9 favourite to jump into the lead at halfway and he was able to steal a glance over his shoulder between the final two flights before sauntering clear of All Day Long to score by 17 lengths.

The trainer said: "He could do no more than he did there. It's great to get a winner before next week. I had a few point-to-pointers run last weekend and they ran a bit upsides down, so that's a relief. We'll see what the lads want to do with him next. Chasing is his game."

Robert Tyner's mare Lughnasa (7-2) came down two out when booked for a place at Clonmel last month and made amends with a fine display in the Great Oak Maiden Hurdle, leading going to the second-last and readily disposing of toiling rivals to win by eight lengths under Philip Enright.

The trainer said: "She was very smart. I wasn't really expecting her to win. The fall might not have done her any harm the last day. She's been schooling much better at home since. We'll see what mark she gets now and she could go for a little handicap."

John O'Shea's seven-year-old Novarov (8-1), on his introduction to fences, stayed on best of all to collar Castle Wings on the run-in and win the Support Kilkenny GAA Raceday At Gowran Beginners Chase by three-quarters of a length under Sean McDermott.

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