CONNA trainer Seamus Spillane won the afternoon’s finale at Punchestown on Tuesday where Ballea Fox showed loads of determination to fend off challengers on both sides.
Sent off a 5/1 chance in the colours of Noel Henley, the seven-year-old dug deepest under Barry John Foley to beat Ice Cool by half a length with Ask May only a nose away in third place.
Davy Russell was among the winners at Punchestown on Wednesday where 16/1 shot Elusive Rebeldom took the 2m maiden hurdle for Gordon Elliott. Owned by the Friends Again Syndicate, the five-year-old got the better of the Padraig Roche-trained The Broghie Man by two and three-parts of a length.
Paul Townend is well on target to reach 100 winners before the Cheltenham Festival and he brought his season’s tally to 95 with an easy success on the Willie Mullins-trained 1/5 favourite Salsaretta which completed a hat-trick of wins over fences in the mares’ novice chase.
She won by all of nine lengths from Caravation and heads to Limerick next.
Townend might have doubled up in the Grade 3 Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle but chose not to ride six-length winner Five O’Clock. Danny Mullins was in the saddle as the 7/1 shot gave the champion trainer a second winner. The was far better luck for the Townend name as champion jockey’s sister Jody rode the latest winner in the Red Mills Ladies series at odds of 16/1.
For good measure, she won the 2m handicap hurdle on Port Rashid which is trained by her father Tim. It was Jody’s second success on the nine-year-old and it won’t be lost on her that brother Paul has failed to win on the son of Dubai Destination in seven rides.
Bandon trainer James Dullea teamed up with Phillip Enright to win the 2m handicap chase with Tikkanen Express.
The nine-year-old scored narrowly in the trainer’s own colours at odds of 10/1 to earn a shot at a bigger prize at Leopardstown this weekend.
Gerard Kelleher landed the hunters’ chase with Macs Legend which finished with a flourish to overhaul Samurai Cracker on the run-in. Ridden by Michael O’Sullivan, the 25/1 shot won by three and a half lengths to bring his career tally to six point-to-points and three hunters’ chases.
At Fairyhouse on Saturday, Eoin Walsh and Noel Meade combined to win the race run in the memory of Tommy Carberry. Ificuiwud, an 8/1 chance, did the honours in the 2m4f handicap hurdle, the seven-year-old getting the better of 3/1 favourite Moynode Gold in the colours of Gigginstown House Stud.
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