Good day at the races for local trainers
There were Meath connections to all, bar two, of the winners at Fairyhouse today with Gordon Elliott, Gavin Cromwell, Noel Meade and Nigel Slevin on the mark.
However, the feature race of the afternoon, the Dan & Joan Moore Memorial Handicap Steeplechase went to the Pat Fahy trained and Brian Cooper ridden Dungevan who edged out the other 7/2 joint favourite Blackbow by three and a quarter lengths.
The day got off to a great start for local connections with Cromwell's White Pepper landing the four-year-old hurdle in the hands of Luke Dempsey.
Having tracked the leaders early on, White Pepper took over in front before halfway and kept on well in the straight to hold off the challenge of Feigh by two lengths.
"It was a good performance. She was tough and she jumped brilliant, she never missed a beat,” said jockey Dempsey.
Locals didn't have to wait long for another winner, but it wasn't the fancied Jumping Jet from Elliott's yard that obliged, as Red As Rust scored at 25/1 for Enfield trainer Slevin in the mares’ maiden hurdle.
Red As Rust took advantage of Brooklynn Glory's fall at the last and skated to win by 12 lengths ahead of 6/4 favourite Banntown Girl.
"She ran a really good race here last year in a bumper but we kind of over-raced her then and ran her back too quick," said trainer Slevin.
"We went jumping this season, she had a problem in Listowel but came back and ran well in Thurles. She was fourth there and the form has worked out so we were hopeful today.
"She's a grand mare and it's great to get it, at my local track. She won a point-to-point and she stays well, she's stoutly bred. I don't know where we go now, we'll plod along with her and see."
After losing out in the race before Elliott did make it into the winners enclosure when Wall Of Fame won the handicap hurdle over just shy of three miles under jockey Jordan Gainford.
Elliott had been forced to withdraw morning favourite Ardhill on veterinary advice but landed the prize as Wall Of Fame, on handicap debut, overhauled long-time leader Alohamora on the run-in.
"He's a solid horse, he won his bumper and his point-to-point form was solid. He just took a little bit of time and in fairness to him he really sees that three miles out," said the jockey.
"Hitting the line he wasn't doing too much and he's a lad that saves a bit for himself, definitely the cheek pieces are a bonus.
"He was having a good look down to the last, I missed it and so did Jack. His horse had won over a shorter trip the last time and it was plenty soft today.
"They went a good gallop, he's a Fame And Glory and all they do is gallop and stay. I think that soft ground suits him as well," concluded Gainsford.
After being beaten into second in the 2.50pm with Thedevilscoachman, Meade landed the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Rated Novice Chase with Gigginstown's Farceur Du Large.
Farceur Du Large raced in second early on before disputing the lead from the fourth fence. He went on after three out and kept up the gallop to account for Flash De Touzaine (9/1) by three lengths.
"It was a nice performance. All he does is jump and gallop, bar one mistake today, but he toughed it out well. I rode him around here last month, in a good beginners' (won by Stattler), and it was nice run. He's improving all the time," said winning jockey Eoin Walsh.
Pat Martin, Thomas Gibney and Elliott sent out locally trained horses in the bumper, but it was Cork trainer Liam Burke who prevailed.
However, there was a Meath link to the winner with jockey Finny Maguire, son of Kilmessan's legendary national hunt jockey Adrian, guiding the 18/1 chance to victory.
There was joy for Elliott in Ayr on Sunday as Burn The Evidence won the concluding bumper at 5/2 under jockey Sean Bowen.
Elliott's charge tracked the leading pair throughout the race and moved into second place inside the final two furlongs before pulling clear and staying on well to edge out 8/11 favourite Tfou.
Elliott's only other runner at the meeting, Motown Maggie, finished second behind 2/1 favourite Ailie Rose, trained by Antrim's S Crawford.