Blue secures Nolan double
WEXFORD handler Paul Nolan was in double-winning form at his local track where his Highbrow Blue created a big impression with a sparkling debut over fences.
Backed into even-money favourite, the six-year-old – having his first run in the care of Nolan – jumped well in the main as Spot Fine set a strong pace in the Black Point Beginners Chase.
Davy Russell sent Highbrow Blue into the lead approaching the third last and eased home 16 lengths clear of runner-up Killtilane Rose at the finish.
Nolan had earlier struck with Seven Acres, which won the three-mile handicap Hurdle with Robbie Power up.
The well-supported grey (9/1) showed admirable staying qualities to have two lengths to spare over Drive On Locky.
Another local trainer, Liz Doyle, also enjoyed a brace as she combined with Adrian Heskin who deputised for Brian O'Connell when he was stood down after being unseated from Our Milly Acres in the mares maiden hurdle won by Willie Austin's Gold Platinum
Maguire's Glen advertised the good form of the Doyle string by adding to a recent Cork success with a comfortable victory in the two-and-a-half mile handicap Hurdle. The 9/2 joint-favourite headed Horendus Hulabaloo just before the final flight and Heskin pushed his mount five-and-a-half lengths clear.
Their second winner came aboard Lord Alfie, which came out on top in a dramatic finish to the Taghmon Athletics Club Raceday Handicap Chase.
Heskin brought Lord Alfie (5/1) to challenge Appletime and 2/1 favourite Sherika approaching the final fence; Appletime took a fatal fall and Doyle's charge just edged out Sherika.
Hurler And Farmer, the subject of a gamble when just touched off over course and distance last month, made amends when getting up close home in the opening handicap hurdle. The Dessie Hughes-trained 11/2 second favourite looked to have plenty to do when The Conker Club went for home after jumping the second last, but Mark Enright got a fine response from Hurler And Farmer, which stayed on strongly to win by a half-length.
The spoils in the bumper went to Noel Meade and Nina Carberry who had to be at her best to get Josephine Marcus (6/1) home by a neck from Bell Of The Ball in a thrilling finish.
Across the water, John Gosden continued his explosive start to the new Flat season by sending out four potential Group-class horses within a brief space of time at Newbury.
Most notable was Western Hymn, which made a positive first step under William Buick along a route which could yet take him to the Investec Derby with an efficient victory in the Dubai Duty Free Conditions Stakes.
Muwaary (2/1 favourite), another unbeaten three-year-old, supplemented his only previous success over course and distance last summer by showing plenty of speed for Paul Hanagan in the seven-furlong handicap.
Buick was back on board for Bright Approach, which emerged as an Oaks contender for Gosden after edging away from the more experienced 13/8 favourite Be My Gal in division two of the Whitley Stud Maiden Fillies' Stakes.
The Newmarket trainer's other winner came in the opening juvenile contest with debutant Kasb (10/1).