Townend continues winning streak
Gold Cup hero Paul Townend returned to home ground in style yesterday, landing the UCC Don't Step On The Crest Handicap Hurdle in Cork on Ronald Pump for Matthew Smith.
Townend now leads Rachael Blackmore by 14 (98-84) in the race to be champion jockey.
Mark Walsh scored a double, partnering the Joseph O'Brien-trained favourite Landofhopeandglory to victory in the featured hurdle before scoring again with the Noel Meade-trained School Boy Hours.
Local Castlelyons handler Rodger Sweeney had the first one-two of his training career in the CIT Raise And Give Handicap Hurdle.
In the Salsify colours of his wife, owner/breeder Joan, Sweeney's Whereyounow (14/1) defeated stable companion Lagenod by a neck.
Evanna McCutcheon, an accomplished amateur jockey as well, saddled her first jumps winner when Tom Hamilton steered 7/2 favourite Our Jerry to a convincing four-and-a-half-length win in the amateur riders' handicap hurdle.
Elsewhere, Bryony Frost, whose victory on Frodon at Cheltenham last week made headline news, will miss Aintree after it was revealed that she broke a collarbone in a fall at Southwell on Monday.
Meanwhile, Declan Lavery has had his 10-day riding ban quashed following an appeal heard by an independent disciplinary panel.
Lavery was one of three jockeys punished by the stewards at Cheltenham after just four of the 18 runners completed the National Hunt Chase - a race confined to amateur riders over four miles on rain-softened ground. The three jockeys in question were suspended for a collective 37 days.
The stewards ruled Lavery, who has ridden for Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins, had "continued in the race when it appeared to be contrary to the horse's welfare" after finishing third on Jerrysback.
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