Friday 19 January 2018

Free World keeps on rocking for Russell

Free World scored for the first time since his switch to Ireland when he ran out a convincing winner of the Water Towers Chase at Ballinrobe yesterday.

Still running in the familiar Kauto Star colours of Clive Smith after leaving Paul Nicholls for Arthur Moore, the seven-year-old was always travelling sweetly.

Davy Russell sent him into the lead approaching the second-last and the 3/1 shot came away in untroubled fashion to beat Schelm by three and a half lengths.

Paul Nolan's French import Acapulco Gold (5/2 favourite) followed up a course-and-distance victory a fortnight ago by taking the EPS Pumps Handicap Hurdle.

Walden Prince threw down a strong challenge and was in the lead at the final flight, but Andrew McNamara had enough in the tank as Acapulco Gold edged in front by a neck close home.

Nolan doubled up when Gala Dancer (4/5 favourite) trotted up by seven lengths in the Mask Pavillion Beginners Chase under Paul Carberry.

Bundle Of Fun has spent most of his career over fences without success, but he has switched to the smaller obstacles now and broke his duck in the Tote Placepot Races 1 To 6 Maiden Hurdle.

Paul Townend crept into contention on the final circuit on the 5/4 favourite, now with Willie Mullins, and took the last upsides Russian Regent before forging clear by a length and a quarter.

Michael Flannery's horses are in flying form and the local trainer landed the John Monroe Haulage Handicap Hurdle with Second Glance (9/2), which had his rivals in trouble some way out and powered away to win by 12 lengths under Ian McCarthy.

Shane Hassett made a decisive move after two out on Nurse Ryan in the McWilliam Park Hotel Handicap Hurdle and Martin Hassett's 13/2 shot was never going to be caught, winning by five lengths.

Three horses were fighting out the finish as they jumped the last in the Corrib Oil Handicap Chase, but Mark Walsh swept past on the Christy Roche-trained Stakers (14/1) and scored by four lengths.

Irish Independent

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