Sunday 15 December 2019

O'Connell eases Dunguib pain with Down Royal double

Fresh from riding his first winner at the Cheltenham Festival, Adrian Heskin won the feature race of the day at Down Royal yesterday as One Cool Cookie landed the Guinness Chase.

Heskin, who is attached to Michael Hourigan's yard and rode A New Story to victory in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham a day earlier, had a much easier time on this occasion.

It could have been different had the favourite Air Force One not crashed out at the fifth-last, although Heskin said: "Today was my first outside ride and he jumped like a buck. I was still travelling well when the other horse fell."

Meanwhile, Brian O'Connell bounced back from his Cheltenham disappointment when booting home a double at the Ulster track.

O'Connell, who attracted some criticism after Dunguib finished third in the Supreme Novices, hit back by producing Barney King with a well-timed run to claim the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle for John Carr.

Caim Hill completed the double when running out a cosy winner of the three-mile beginners chase for Dunguib's trainer Philip Fenton.

"That's racing. You've good days and bad days," said O'Connell after the second winner. "Everybody's entitled to their opinion. My job is riding horses, I don't worry about anything else."

Clonbur landed a monster gamble in the concluding bumper for trainer Tommy McGivern. Backed from as big as 20/1 in the morning, the son of Presenting was sent off 3/1 favourite. Jason McKeown sent his mount to the front over a furlong out and soon had matters in hand, recording an impressive five-length success from Hills Of Claragh.

At Wexford, a change of tactics saw Point Of Light (11/8) recoup some of last Saturday's losses in the opening maiden hurdle for Paul Nolan, successful at Down Royal with Earth And Sky in the two-mile novice chase.

The Francis Flood-trained Miss Pepperpot (6/1) recaptured her best form to take the Michael O'Murchadha Memorial Novice Handicap Hurdle in the hands of Mark Walsh and the same trainer-jockey combination completed a double when Slievecoragh landed the Richard Browne & Sons Ltd Hurdle.

Sent off the 7/4 favourite, he was always travelling best in front and readily saw off the threat of his main market rival Vital Plot.

Irish Independent

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