'Tower' proves highlight of Blackmore brace
Aspire Tower earned a 28/1 quote for the Triumph Hurdle after an impressive start to his jumping career in the 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown yesterday.
Formerly a high-class performer on the Flat for Richard Hannon and latterly Steve Gollings, the son of Born To Sea was sent off 9/4 favourite on his first appearance for Henry de Bromhead.
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Sent straight to the lead by Rachael Blackmore, Aspire Tower showed signs of his inexperience at times, but powered clear in the home straight to score by 13 lengths. De Bromhead and Blackmore completed a swift double in the following two-mile maiden hurdle, with 8/1 shot Cavalry Master repelling the late charge of Buddy Rich.
Joseph O'Brien's hot favourite Dlauro - a £410,000 purchase out of the point-to-point field for JP McManus and so impressive in a Punchestown bumper when last seen - was very disappointing.
"He jumped brilliant and stayed at it really well - he's improving all the time," De Bromhead added.
"The two-and-a-half-mile novice handicap at Leopardstown at Christmas could be a possibility."
Willie Mullins went one better with a treble on the card, with two of those winners ridden by his nephew Danny. Drury (9/2) proved much too strong for better fancied stablemate Minella Encore (11/8 favourite) in the maiden hurdle, before Salsaretta (9/1) won with plenty in hand on her debut over fences in the novice chase.
The treble was completed by 11/10 favourite Aione in the bumper. Not seen since winning a point-to-point in May 2017, the six-year-old galloped three lengths clear of The Road To Fame under the trainer's son, Patrick, in the style of a decent prospect.
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