MAKE A TRACK narrowly got the better of Ceol Rua in a thrilling finish to the Goresbridge Novice Hurdle at Gowran Park yesterday.
Third behind Mount Benbulben in the Grade Two Monksfield Novice Hurdle at Navan, Charlie Swan's charge was given a strong ride by Davy Russell, who sent his mount into a marginal advantage approaching two out.
Long-time leader Ceol Rua battled back after the last flight for Ruby Walsh, but the 2/1 favourite was not for beating and held on by a head.
Walsh also played second-fiddle on Are Ya Right Chief, who couldn't quite reel in Barry Geraghty and Golanbrook (5/4 favourite) in the Santa's Little Helper Maiden Hurdle.
Memories of the great Danoli were rekindled as Golanbrook, sporting the same blue and white silks of Dan O'Neill and trained also by Tom Foley, just clung on under Barry Geraghty to win by a short-head.
There was another fine finish in the Gowran Park Racing Club 2012 Maiden Hurdle, with 6/4 chance Pride Of The Artic beating Castle Wings by a diminishing neck.
One Cool Shabra (11/8 favourite) made every post a winning one in the 3-Y-O Hurdle. Oliver Brady's consistent youngster appreciated the drop in class having finished third in a Grade Three at Fairyhouse, digging deep close home to beat Bat Masterson by a head.
Ludo Et Emergo caused a major shock when scoring at odds of 50/1 on his debut in the Xmas Voucher Gowran Golf Shop Maiden Hurdle to provide a welcome change of luck for both trainer Andrew Lee and rider Martin Ferris.
Lee, who trains near Cloyne in Co. Cork, had been without a winner since All Sorts Star won a handicap hurdle at Killarney in July 2008, while Ferris was also ending a five-month spell without success.
However, there didn't appear any fluke about the result as the Needle Gun gelding, which paid €604.40 on the Tote, made most of the running.
He jumped well for Ferris before asserting from the final flight to beat Don Leone (6/1) by two and three quarter lengths.