Tammys delights Lennon with battling Wexford win
PROLIFIC point-to-point winner Tammys Hill lowered the colours of Salsify in the first hunter chase of the season, the Rosslare Hunters Chase at Wexford.
Salsify was sent off the even-money favourite, having won the major hunter chases at Cheltenham and Stratford. He was pushed along in an effort to get on terms with Liam Lennon's 7/2 chance on the home turn, but Tammys Hill responded to James Smyth's urgings to win by three and a half lengths.
"He was beaten on very heavy ground up north the last day and we took him here for the slightly better ground. That made a big difference to him," said the winning rider.
"He'll go to Cheltenham in March and before that, there is Down Royal on St Stephen's Day. Punchestown is also an option."
Jockey Colman Sweeney was happy with the performance of Salsify on his seasonal debut and said: "It's a nice start back and he probably needed it a bit. He probably would have got away with it on nicer ground."
Noel Meade's Thouva put in an accomplished round of jumping to land the Hook Beginners Chase at Wexford.
Always near the head of affairs under Davy Russell, the 13/8 favourite appeared to take lengths out of his rivals at each fence on the first circuit.
King Of The Refs was the only possible challenger at the end of the back straight, but Thouva was too strong, coming home five lengths in front.
Russell said: "He jumped great. The opposition maybe wasn't great, though."
Philip Fenton saddled his first winner for owner JP McManus when Venture Capital opened his account over hurdles at the first time of asking in the Mount Leinster Maiden Hurdle at Wexford.
The 10/11 favourite moved nicely for Brian O'Connell and made eye-catching headway from the third last.
Our Native Land put up some resistance in the home straight, but Venture Capital was too strong after the last, winning by two and three-quarter lengths.
Fenton had been anxious to get Venture Capital out on the track and said: "At last. We've been trying to avoid heavy ground with him and today is as heavy as he would like it.
"Having the freshest of the ground today helped. He'll get two-and-a-half and the experience will stand to him.
"Leopardstown at Christmas is a possibility, or else he could run in the new year."
Meanwhile, Vulcanite made a promising start to his fencing career with victory in the bet365.com Novices' Chase at Hereford.
A former useful novice hurdler, the Charlie Longsdon-trained five-year-old outpointed Salden Licht by three-quarters of a length, the pair making their chasing debuts.
Winning jockey Tony McCoy then went on to complete a double on the Hughie Morrison-trained Stravita (5/1) in the the bet365 Handicap Hurdle.