Sword Fish cruises to Cork Grand National success
Sword Fish cashed in on his feather weight to take the Paddy Power Cork Grand National for trainer Christy Roche and stand-in jockey Ben Dalton.
The JP McManus-trained 8-1 shot could not have won the coveted three-and-a-half-mile handicap chase with any more fluency once he ghosted into the lead three fences from home.
Dalton, who had replaced the injured Alan Crowe, was rarely animated in the saddle as his partner pulled 10 lengths clear of 4-1 favourite Unoccupied.
Frank Berry, racing manager for McManus, said: "It's a lovely race to win and maybe he'll run in the Paddy Power Chase (Leopardstown) over Christmas."
Dalton said: "We didn't go that fast for a National and he jumped and travelled so well.
"I couldn't believe how well he picked up."
Sizing Rio turned in a most accomplished display from the front to take the Grade Three Paddy Power We Pay Up To 1million Euro On Winning Bets EBF Novice Chase.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained six-year-old won on his fencing bow at Tipperary back in May and again jumped really well for one so inexperienced.
Clar Na Mionn emerged as Sizing Rio nearest pursuer, but he could not live with the well-backed 13-8 favourite, who was ridden by Andrew Lynch.
De Bromhead said: "He's always just been an out-and-out chaser.
"He's unreal when he lets go. I think he'll handle better ground as well.
"Even if we ended up having our next run over Christmas it wouldn't worry me as the Drinmore (Fairyhouse) is a tough race.
"I'd hope he's a three-mile horse in time and the dream's still alive."
Lots Of Memories further enhanced his consistent run of form by claiming Grade Three honours in the Paddy Power Collect Winning Bets In Any Shop EBF Novice Hurdle.
The Paul Fahey-trained six-year-old had not been out of the first three in nine starts over hurdles and in bumpers, but he took his game to another level.
Lots Of Memories (7-4) finished second to Indevan in a Grade Three at Limerick last month, but he clinically reversed the form when that rival fell three flights from home.
Fahey's inmate took the lead with a circuit remaining after Old Kilcash had set an honest gallop, and was not hard pressed in accounting for Horendus Hulabaloo under Shane Butler.
Butler said: "He's still very novicey but once he gets to grips with it he'll be very good. He was still very green over the last three."
Smart bumper performer Azorian made an impressive winning debut over obstacles when he landed the Paddy Power Your Local Betting Shop INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle by 21 lengths.
Trainer Eoin Griffin said of the 4-5 favourite: "Hopefully things will go right for him during the season and while he'll stay at two and a half miles for the time being, he could step up further in time.
"The Monksfield Hurdle (Navan) in three weeks' time is a possibility but we might wait a little longer.
"He's a horse I hold in high regard and Davy (Russell) liked him, too."
Russell was also on the scoresheet when The Game Changer (11-8 favourite) won the opening Paddy Power Betting Shops Maiden Hurdle.