Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 21 January 2018

Walsh sees 'big future' for Assembly over fences

Morning Assembly, with Davy Condon
Morning Assembly, with Davy Condon

Thomas Kelly

Morning Assembly looks destined to scale the heights over fences after making an impressive chasing debut at Punchestown.

Pat Fahy's Grade One-winning hurdler was given a positive ride by Ruby Walsh, who was deputising for the injured Davy Condon, and jumped well in the main. The 2/1 favourite had Si C'Etait Vrai for company on most of the two-and-a-half-mile journey, but eventually notched a near four-length success.

"He only had one racecourse school and that was when he hacked around at Tipperary, so there should be plenty of improvement there," said the trainer. "Ruby said to make sure that we give him plenty of experience and he'll definitely run somewhere before Christmas.

"I'll sit down with the owner (Steve Parkin) and we'll make a plan. Davy (Condon) schooled him at Tipperary so I'm sorry that he missed this but he'll be back (Condon broke his leg at Cork recently)."

Walsh added: "I love the way he jumped, he was very good when we got in close. He's a smashing horse with a really big future."

Walsh was aboard favourite Lucky Bridle in the opening maiden hurdle, but Willie Mullins' 4/6 shot could only manage third behind Empire Of Dirt (12/1).

A costly purchase at €325,000 for Gigginstown House Stud, the Colm Murphy-trained six-year-old had seen the track just once, when fifth in a Fairyhouse bumper in January 2012. But given plenty of time, the half-brother to Irish National fifth Panther Claw confirmed he could be a useful prospect when beating Cebuano by over two lengths in the hands of Davy Russell.

"The manner in which he did it was nice and his pedigree suggests he will be better over further," said Murphy.

The two-mile beginners chase saw a gutsy performance from the Seamus Roche-trained Jim Will Fix It (9/1) which saw off Way Up In The Air by a head under Paul Townend.

There was a controversial finish to the mares' bumper which was dominated by the Mullins clan. Elsie, trained by Tom, edged out brother Willie's Shesafoxylady (13/8 joint-favourite) by a nose but hampered the runner-up as she drifted. Ridden by David Mullins, Elsie was demoted to second as the spoils went to his cousin Patrick.

Irish Independent

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