Paul Nolan's Like It A Lot survives Thurles wobble
Trainer Paul Nolan is confident there is more to come from Like It A Lot after he broke his duck in testing conditions at Thurles.
All of the jockeys riding on a wintry afternoon in Co Tipperary wore black armbands as a mark of respect to Pierce Molony, the owner and manager of Thurles who sadly passed away earlier this week.
After falling on his chasing debut at the track in early November before finishing down the field behind the exciting Don Poli at Gowran Park, Like It A Lot went back hurdling at Leopardstown over Christmas but failed to land a blow.
Sent off a 5/1 shot for his return to the chasing game, the six-year-old made one or two mistakes during the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Rated Novice Chase, but looked set for a comprehensive victory after closest pursuer Toubaloo pecked on landing after the final fence.
However, Nolan's charge started to pull up in front in the hands of Adrian Heskin and with Toubaloo rallying, there was just a head in it at the line. Drumlee was sent off favourite to give Charlie Swan a winner with his final National Hunt runner before retiring from training, but he finished a well-beaten fourth.
Nolan said: "He didn't jump well and I thought we were in a spot of bother when he rooted a few fences down the back. He jumped the last well but wobbled around a bit."
Our Katie got the job done for favourite backers in a dramatic Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase. Four horses came to grief at the first fence and another two were pulled up, meaning just five finished. Garrett Ahern's 4/5 market leader Our Katie made the most of the opportunity, beating Carrigeen Kigelia by three-and-a-quarter lengths.
"She has a slight setback over Christmas when she had a drop but today was the obvious place to come," said Ahern.
"She wants better ground and, depending on how the handicapper reacts, we might think about a handicap next, although I've no real plans."
Ruby Walsh secured his 50th winner of the campaign as Totally Dominant (11/4) toughed it out in the thurles.ie Maiden Hurdle. Winning trainer Willie Mullins said: "He couldn't face into that wind in the straight and it's hard to keep a horse in front in those conditions, but Ruby said he liked that ground."
Ryansbrook (5/1) took top honours in the INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle for trainer Colm Murphy and jockey Mikey Fogarty, coming home 11 lengths clear of Mullins' Vedettariat.
John Joe Walsh's Really Unique (4/1) edged out Romantic Fashion in the Thurles Handicap Hurdle under Brian O'Connell, while the Follow Us On Facebook Handicap Hurdle went the way of Danny Howard's 7/1 shot Duty Dance.