'Sapphire' sparkles again as Townend bags treble
Paul Townend landed a terrific treble at Wexford, scoring with Sapphire Lady, Eight And Bob, and Silver Planeur.
The first two winners were for Willie Mullins and then he teamed up with Eric McNamara to complete his 17/1 trio.
Sapphire Lady (4/6 favourite) got the ball rolling as she bounced back following an under-par run at Limerick to land the odds in the Casey Tarmacadam Mares Hurdle.
The six-year-old made most of the running and came home seven-and-a-half lengths clear of Fiveaftermidnight.
"I suppose she just had an off day at Limerick, but that was more like it today," said Townend, who struck again on Eight And Bob (6/5 fav) in the Casey Enterprises Handicap Hurdle.
"Hopefully he will get further. He won over a mile and seven on the Flat, and any horse that stays that far on the Flat should stay even further over hurdles," Mullins's representative David Casey said of Eight and Bob.
Silver Planeur (4/1 fav) stormed past long-time leader Court Adjourned to lead two out and go on to score by five-and-a-half lengths from Lady Of The Sea in the Casey Concrete Gorey Handicap Hurdle.
Barwell (5/1) made an impressive debut over jumps in the Casey Concrete Blocks Maiden Hurdle, while Sometime Soon (2/1 fav) led home a one-two for Gigginstown House Stud in the Casey Cattle Slats Maiden Hurdle.
Elsewhere, Cheltenham Festival hero Blow By Blow made a winning debut over fences in the Beginners Chase at Galway.
Gordon Elliott's seven-year-old, which won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Hurdle at the Festival in March, jumped satisfactorily for a horse making his chasing bow.
While not foot-perfect, he never looked like falling and with stamina his forte, Jack Kennedy was keen to kick on some way out.
Sean Flanagan also enjoyed a treble yesterday which was initiated by the 20/1 success of Western Victory in the GoBus.ie Mares Maiden Hurdle.
A decent mare in bumpers, she looked up against it with the likes of Getaway Katie Mai in the field but Colin Bowe's charge had a length and a half in hand of the 11/10 favourite on crossing the line.
Flanagan then won the Marlin Hotels Handicap Chase on Tout Est Permis, which was making his debut for Noel Meade having been moved from Mouse Morris by Gigginstown House Stud.
"He was doing everything right at home and we were very happy coming with him," said Meade.
"I actually had him in a hurdle race today but Eddie (O'Leary, Gigginstown racing manager) said 'no, no, no - he's a better horse over fences' and he jumped brilliantly today.
Flanagan completed his treble on Bowe's Sweet Home Chicago (9/1) in the Play in Pink Fundraiser Hurdle.
Willie Mullins also had a treble. He he was on the mark with Dorrells Pierji (6/1) under Denis O'Regan in the Novice Hurdle, while Ruby Walsh won the Handicap Hurdle on Suinda (5/2 fav) and Kalanisi Og (5/1) took the concluding bumper under amateur rider Billy Gleeson.
However, 2-7 favourite Wicklow Brave hit the deck in a race won by Sweet Home Chicago.
Further afield, Royal Meeting became trainer Saeed bin Suroor's second Group One-winning two-year-old this month when landing the Criterium International at Chantilly.
Coming straight from a debut success at Yarmouth nearly six weeks ago, the Invincible Spirit colt took the big step up to the top level in his stride with a game display to strike for Godolphin in the hands of Christophe Soumillon.
Hermosa made a bold bid under Ryan Moore but the Aidan O'Brien-trained filly could not hold off Royal Meeting.
Holdthasigreen won a dramatic race for the Prix Royal-Oak after Flag Of Honour and Brundtland bumped into each other early on.