GORDON ELLIOTT, successful in the race three years ago through Out Sam, took the honours in Sunday’s Cork Grand National on Paddy Power day with Jack Kennedy’s mount Braeside who overcame a 265 day absence to prevail.
The easy-to-back 16/1 shot relished the step up in trip to three and a half miles and looked to be going best of all when taking it up at the second last, being pushed out to account for Screaming Colours by three lengths.
Kennedy was winning the race for the first time and reported.
“The only worry I had coming here was fitness maybe, but he proved me wrong. He jumps for fun, travelled and jumped great and the further the better for him.”
Emmet Mullins is a trainer fast making a name for himself and he further enhanced his growing reputation by saddling the first treble of his career via easy 14 length scorer Cape Gentleman in the Grade 3 novice chase, hurdling debutant Crown Major in the four-year-old maiden hurdle and Agritime in the mares bumper.
Under-rated pilot Brian Hayes had the leg up on the first two and led from start to finish on Cape Gentleman.
Said his trainer: “He jumped great again and it was good to get that second run into him now for that bit more experience. He’s probably entitled to go on to Fairyhouse now for the Drinmore.
“Brian says he’s like a big cat to jump and, hopefully, if he puts in another round of jumping like that, he’ll take beating wherever he goes.”
Stable-companion Crown Major, a 96 rated performer on the flat, was unsuited by the ground conditions on his last outing in a listed event at Newmarket in September, but revelled in the rain-soaked going here to make a successful jumping debut.
The 11/10 market leader was always prominent in scoring by a comfortable seven lengths and Mullins remarked: “I was a bit worried about the ground, but that was a great start.
"I told Brian to teach him as much as he could and, hopefully, there’s plenty more left in the tank.
“He jumps well and, being as slick as he is over hurdles, he’s a huge asset to have.
"He’s an exciting horse and he’ll get an entry in the Royal Bond.”
Agritime, meanwhile, with the trainer’s cousin Patrick in the saddle earned herself a crack at the listed mares bumper at Navan later this month with her three and threequarter length defeat of Rein Machine.
The Paul Nolan-trained Jeremys Jewel, who was successful in a couple of bumpers in the summer, put the experience she gained when a close second to the subsequent Graded-placed Glan at Fairyhouse to good use when taking the mares maiden hurdle in the capable hands of Bryan Cooper.
Her trainer commented afterward: “We think she’s a good filly and the only worry today was the ground.
"Bryan said she was too keen, but she was just too good for them and, all being well, she’s one for the mares novice hurdle at Cheltenham.
"I know we’re shooting at stars a little bit, but that’s the long-term plan.”
Chigaco Time, as big as 14/1 in the morning, landed a touch for Matty Tynan’s small Co. Tipperary outfit when following up his win over the course two weeks earlier with a three and three quarter length defeat of market leader Ballywilliam Boy in the listed novice hurdle.
The 5/1 shot was again ridden by Sean O’Keeffe and Tynan exclaimed: “This is unbelievable and it’s great for racing to see a small lad winning these races.
"We were hoping for a good run as he’s been running consistently all the time and we’ll give him a break now and bring him back for the Connolly’s Red Mills Series Final at Punchestown in April.”
Perry Owens (Sean Flanagan) gave the in-form Noel Meade a 98/1 across the board double when coming home a length winner of the 80-116 handicap hurdle.