Foildubh shows heart to spoil Rubi Ball debut
Foildubh denied French import Rubi Ball a debut win for Willie Mullins when beating the hot favourite in a photo-finish to the Rock of Cashel Hurdle at Thurles.
After making the early running, Mullins' charge was overtaken with more than a circuit left by Foildubh (7/2) as Paul Carberry took charge on John Ryan's nine-year-old. Ruby Walsh brought Rubi Ball to challenge from the third-last flight, but the 1/2 shot could not get past the long-time leader as Foildubh prevailed by a head.
Mullins was not despondent after the reverse, saying: "It appears he'd be better going left-handed. He probably found the ground too good -- all his best form has been on heavy ground. At least he ran a race and it's something to work on."
Foildubh could now be headed for the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, although Carberry's availability is seen as crucial.
Mullins and Walsh had better luck when Lucky Bridle bounced back from a disappointing jumps debut with an easy success in the Cahir Maiden Hurdle.
The French recruit suffered all sorts of problems when a hot favourite at Punchestown last month but, with a hood applied here, Walsh was keen to avoid any such issues by sending him to the front.
The even-money market leader settled well at the head of affairs and didn't see another rival, passing the post three and three-quarter lengths ahead of Aidan O'Brien's Shield.
A significant gamble was landed by the Charles Byrnes-trained Sea Light in the Horse & Jockey Handicap Hurdle. Available as big as 10/1 in the morning, the five-year-old was the subject of sustained support before being sent off the 2/1 favourite. Always travelling well for Rob Jones, he was sent to the front two out, and only had to be pushed out to score by four lengths from Faranadooney.
There was an upset in the Glen Chase over three miles as the 13/2 outsider of four, Letter Of Credit, claimed the scalp of Charlie Swan's odds-on shot Make A Track.
Earlier, trainer Christy Roche and Mark Walsh teamed up to record a winner for JP McManus as Sitcom got the better of the gambled-on Kilcarry Bridge in the Killinan Beginners Chase.
A cracking finish looked on the cards in the staying handicap chase as the Mouse Morris-trained Baily Dusk and The Blarney Rose thundered down to the final fence.
But much to the relief of those who had backed Baily Dusk into 13/8 favourite, his main challenger crashed out after taking a bump and Bryan Cooper was allowed to coast eight lengths clear of Tico.
Fermoy trainer Michael O'Donovan was on the mark in the closing maiden hurdle as Oscar Chimes landed the spoils under Ryan Treacy.