'Shark' on the mark at Sedgefield
CARLOW trainer John 'Shark' Hanlon made a flying raid on Sedgefield with six horses and headed home smiling after his final runner on the card, Rudigreen, landed a gamble.
Backed from 10/1 into 7/1, Rudigreen ensured the journey from Bagenalstown was a successful one by taking the two-and-a-half mile handicap chase despite being 2lb out of the handicap.
Dougie Costello produced the 10-year-old to jump into the lead at the final fence and stride away to score by over two lengths from the 11/4 favourite My Flora.
"He's a bit of a rogue, but he's one of the ones that handled the cut in the ground," Hanlon said. "All my horses were brought for good to firm ground and to me that is yielding to soft. He handles that ground – it's great to go home with one winner anyway."
The day began inauspiciously for the trainer with Birzali falling at the final flight when well-beaten in the opening conditional jockeys' maiden hurdle. Anjum was only eighth of nine finishers in the two-mile maiden hurdle, before Baizically and Do The Bookies failed to make the places.
However, Howlett served notice of better things to come when finishing third in the bumper. "I was disappointed with him, but he just didn't handle the ground. The jockey said if the ground had been quicker he'd have won," said Hanlon.
The training honours went to Donald McCain, who enjoyed a 30/1 treble with Welsh Bard (8/1), Aazif (6/5 favourite) and Ballybriggan (10/11 favourite).
Henry Brooke was in the saddle for the first, with the in-form Jason Maguire on the other two.
It wasn't such a good day for Cork-born rider Denis O'Regan, who was unseated from Honour System in the maiden hurdle and was taken to hospital in Middlesbrough to have a shoulder injury checked.
At Tipperary, meanwhile, Aidan O'Brien was on the mark in the opening juvenile maiden with odds-on favourite Coach House, which looks destined for greater things.
Backed into 2/5, Joseph O'Brien's mount quickly took up the running and gradually pulled clear of his rivals to score by over six lengths from Jim Bolger's Heart Focus.
Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen combined to land the five-furlong maiden with Johnny Lynch (7/1), before Smullen doubled up aboard the Harry Rogers-trained Allegra Tak (9/2 co-favourite) in the sprint handicap.