Tammys Hill lays down marker for Cheltenham
Tammys Hill inflicted defeat on Cheltenham Foxhunters hero Salsify for the second time this season at Down Royal – much to the delight of the locals.
The seven-year-old is trained by Liam Lennon and owned by Patsy Smyth, a resident of nearby Poyntz Pass in Co Down and whose son James did the steering.
"He travelled well the whole time," said the winning jockey. "I took my time and coming to the second last, I sent him on. He's coming to himself and could be a Foxhunters type."
The 3/1 second favourite is now a live Cheltenham prospect after galloping on strongly from the second last to beat Salsify by three and a half lengths – just as he had done at Wexford earlier this month.
Successful in the feature at Limerick, Tom Taaffe enjoyed an across-the-card double courtesy of Third Opinion's success in the two-mile maiden hurdle. However, connections of the four-year-old had to endure a sweat as the son of Zagreb had to survive a steward's enquiry before his neck verdict over Curley Bill was confirmed.
Having taken up the running early on, Mark Enright's mount looked in trouble as Davy Condon brought favourite Curley Bill to challenge coming to the last flight.
Third Opinion (9/2) moved to its left at the hurdle – hampering Condon's mount, which made a mistake – and though Curley Bill briefly got its head in front, it was Taaffe's charge which showed the greater resolution close home.
Condon enjoyed better fortune in the two-and-a-half-mile maiden hurdle as he guided Gordon Elliott's 2/1 favourite Torn Asunder to victory.
The afternoon's riding honours went to promising claimer Jody McGarvey, who followed up his gritty success aboard Francis Flood's Take A Shot (6/1) in the handicap chase with victory on 25/1 outsider Court Jester in the two-mile handicap hurdle.
The closing bumper went to Ian Ferguson's well-backed 11/4 favourite Ceasar Milan.
At Wetherby, Cape Tribulation (7/2) gave trainer Malcolm Jefferson back-to-back victories with a smooth display under Jack Doyle in the Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase.
The North Yorkshire trainer completed a double when McMurrough (4/1) took the the card's other handicap chase. "He battled on well. It's been a good day," said Jefferson.
Chepstow's re-arranged Welsh Grand National fixture – which was to be the last race meeting televised by the BBC today – will now go out on Channel 4 on January 5.