Penny Jane obliges to give Elliott a double at Galway
Penny Jane overcame a nightmare passage in the Guinness Handicap chase to give Gordon Elliott a double at Galway.
The 6/1 favourite was stuck in a pocket on the rail after the last and had to be switched out in the final furlong by Denis O'Regan to power home by a length and a half.
"We were lucky as the saddle nearly slipped on her," said Elliott. "Denis gave her a great ride. It's a long way up the straight in Galway so you don't mind (the traffic problems)."
Elliott's Woods Well (7/2) had earlier beaten hot favourite Rashaan in the Ryans Cleaning Chase, with Davy Russell getting the better of Robbie Power by a neck in a thrilling finish.
The Colin Kidd-trained Rashaan won a Grade Three at the Galway Festival two months ago and, with the form having been boosted by those behind him, the six-year-old was well fancied to follow up on his return to Ballybrit.
However, it was clear from an early stage it was not going to be plain sailing for Rashaan, with Power's mount safe rather than spectacular at his obstacles and he appeared to be struggling to keep tabs on Woods Well and the Willie Mullins-trained Minella Beau.
Elliott said: "He's a grand, honest horse. Ours normally all come on from their first run and I thought he'd come on from it as well. Davy said he had a nice blow.
"The race suited him, Davy gave him a good ride and he jumped well.
Liam Gilligan earned praise from local trainer Brian Cawley after steering Whatsafellatodo (4-1) home in the GalwayPubs.com Rated Novice Hurdle.
"Liam gave him a super ride," said Cawley. "I thought he came alive a bit early but he let him come down the hill and fill himself up."
Sancta Simona (5-2) made a pleasing start to her hurdling career for Willie Mullins in the Mervue Maiden Hurdle with Barry Geraghty, in the JP McManus colours, on board.
McManus also owns Hearts Are Trumps, which coasted in by three lengths in the GalwayPubs.com Handicap hurdle for Des McDonogh and Mark Walsh.
Voix Du Reve (13/8 joint favourite) impressed on his chasing debut with an authoritative display under Paul Townend in the GalwayRaces.com Beginners Chase to give Mullins a brace.
Today's action is at Cork. Liberty Lass marked herself out as a horse to follow when winning at Navan last month and has every chance of following up in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap.
She reappeared from almost a year off to comfortably land a fillies' maiden and ought to have plenty of scope off a mark of 71 in her first handicap.