Alpha proves star for Morris as Elliott brings up century
Gordon Elliott took the training honours with a four-timer at Clonmel yesterday, but it was the Mouse Morris-trained Alpha Des Obeaux which claimed the feature prize as he made a welcome return to form by leading home a Michael O'Leary 1-2-3.
Tiger Roll and Champagne West disputed the early lead in the Clonmel Oil Chase, but that pair dropped away before the home turn as the field was being taken along by Alpha Des Obeaux, closely followed by fellow Gigginstown pair A Toi Phil and 11/10 favourite Balko Des Flos.
However, the first-named of that O'Leary trio was travelling best at the head of affairs under Sean Flanagan and the 7/1 shot stepped up the pace to pull five-and-a-half lengths clear of A Toi Phil.
"He had run two good races this year and my horses, the ones that are capable enough, are all running well this year also," said Morris, winning the race for a third time.
"I'd say he could go back to handicaps now, but I'll see what the lads (O'Learys) want to do. The year before last he was always just falling a bit short (at Grade One level) and is just that bit short of the real McCoy."
Elliott's Dinaria Des Obeaux (4/6 fav) was an easy winner of the TA Morris Memorial Irish EBF Mares Chase.
In receipt of lumps of weight as a four-year-old and carrying just 9st 11lb, Jack Kennedy's mount - sent off at just 10/1 for the Triumph Hurdle in March - jumped like an old hand on just her second start over fences.
Miss Eyecatcher tried to stretch her, but failed to even get her off the bridle as she cruised to a 22-length win.
"It was a nice race to win with her and was important for breeding," said Elliott.
"Her jumping was good and maybe going a little bit further suited as it was all happening a little quick for her the last day at Wexford over two miles.
"We'll keep her in graded races now and might run her in the Drinmore Chase."
Earlier, Elliott and Kennedy had won the three-mile handicap hurdle with Folsom Blue (10/1) on his first run for the yard and part-owned by 'At The Races' presenter Gary O'Brien.
Elliott and Kennedy also combined to bring up a treble together on 1/3 hotpot Hardline in the Prior Park Service Station Hurdle to take the trainer to 99 winners for the season.
The County Meath handler did not have to wait long for the century as Warlike Intent (5/6 fav) obliged by 13 lengths in the Slán Abhaile Flat Race in the hands of Lisa O'Neill.
"All credit to Gordon and the team at home and it's a pleasure to be getting on horses like that.
"There's a lot of hard work that goes on at home," said O'Neill.