A spectacular front-running performance by Magic Daze in the Irish Stallion Farms Mares Beginners Chase in Cork proved part of an across-the-card treble for Henry de Bromhead yesterday.
Successful with Fully Charged in Punchestown, Magic Daze and Epson Du Houx delivered for the trainer at the Mallow track, Magic Daze justifying 8/15 favouritism in bold-jumping, front-running style under Darragh O’Keeffe.
She made all, jumping well and coasted home twenty-six lengths clear of Darrens Hope and Sayce Gold (both crying out for a longer trip).
“Horse and jockey seemed to enjoy themselves,” stated de Bromhead’s assistant Davy Roche.
“She has enjoyed jumping from day one.
"All of ours are stepping forward from their first run and this mare improved a lot from her run in Galway.
“She’ll have to step-up in class now. I’m sure Henry will discuss plans with her owners, but she could come back here for the Grade 2 mares race on December 5.”
Roche late described Shane Fitzgerald’s handling of Epson Du Houx in the Mallow Handicap Chase as a “savage spin” as the Gigginstown-owned seven-year-old proved too strong for Golden Jewel and Halsafari.
“This horse loves jumping, but I’m surprised he won first time out,” said Roche.
“He should improve plenty from this and can go for some of the those good handicaps now.”
Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins, like de Bromhead, on the mark in Punchestown also hit the target in Cork.
Elliott’s Hamundarson (Luke Dempsey), an eight-race maiden, turned over the Mullins-traine dhotpot Minella Cocooner in the INH Stallion Owners Maiden Hurdle.
Mullins took the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Handicap Hurdle with recent Sligo winner Dads Lad, the mount of Brian Hayes.
Robert Tyner’s mare Queen Jesse Jay (Philip Enright) landed a tidy gamble (as big as 25/1 in the morning and returned at 4/1) in the concluding beginners chase, mastering Fakir D’alene and Mount Melleray.
Elsewhere, Sharjah rewarded Patrick Mullins' loyalty when reclaiming his title in the Grade One Unibet Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.
The eight-year-old took the contest in 2018 and is a regular presence among the placed runners in the top-calibre hurdle contests, a status that saw him start as the 6-4 favourite.
He faced only two opponents with the late withdrawals of reigning champion Abacadabras and Joseph O'Brien's Darasso leaving only Gordon Elliott's Zanahiyr and stablemate Echoes In Rain to challenge him.
A faultless round of jumping had the smooth-travelling Champion Hurdle runner-up well placed to take the lead over the last, after which he happily pulled clear of Zanahiyr to prevail by three lengths, with Grand One-winning mare Echoes In Rain a further 12 lengths behind.
"He runs his race every day and he has a little bit of class. He's a wonderful servant to have around the place," said Willie Mullins.
"I'd imagine he'll go back to Leopardstown at Christmas, all being well.
"It was very tactical, but the way it played out played into Sharjah's hands."
Of Echoes In Rain's disappointing performance, the trainer said: "They went a bit too slow for the filly. She was too buzzy and didn't jump well enough at that slow pace.
"She has a lot of improvement to do, but hopefully she will improve."
Patrick Mullins opted to keep with Sharjah over Echoes In Rain, a decision that proved wise as the bay provided him with his first triumph in the race.
"The race played out ideal for me," he said.
"He jumped great, he was out-jumping Davy (Russell on Zanahiyr) and I kept pulling him back. It turned into a sprint which suited him.
"He's given me some great days, but a lot of credit has to go to David Porter and Eilish Byrne who look after him and ride him out.
"I'm very grateful to Rich Ricci because I've got to ride this horse ahead of the number one jockey a couple of times.
"I could have ridden Echoes In Rain today, but I wanted to stay loyal to Sharjah and luckily it's paid off.
"He doesn't get the credit he deserves. He's like Santa - I can't wait for Christmas now!"
Elliott said of his runner-up Zanahiyr: "It was a bit of a sprint and he needs a faster gallop. He's a big idle fella, but he ran well.
"He was beaten by a very good horse, so there is no excuse."