Mullinavat trainer William Delahunty saw his Tramore winner Billybuster give a repeat performance at Wexford on Saturday.
Given a positive ride by Andrew McNamara the Lord Of Appeal gelding justified favouritism in the two mile 80-95 handicap hurdle.
Making every post a winning one, McNamara kept enough up his sleeve to see off the challenge of He Is Top Class after the final flight.
A half-brother to none other than Monet’s Garden, the winner is maintaining his form well as he had to shoulder a 10lb penalty for his Tramore success. On this evidence he is still slightly ahead of the man who calculates the weight.
Delahunty is at pains to point out that this is a team effort as his wife Helena rides out as well a doubling up as secretary while his sons Billy and Michael also play a major role in the whole operation.
With the change in ground conditions Willie Mullins is beginning to get into top gear. He recorded a brace in the opening two races with Alonso and Vicky De L’Oasis.
Spanish-bred Alonso raced both in France and Spain before joining the Mullins yard earlier in the year. He was an odds-on chance to win at the first time of asking over hurdles in the two mile and four maiden and although he duly delivered his task was made easier by the fatal fall of his nearest challenger Aircraftman at the final flight.
Given a patient ride by Ruby Walsh Alonso had just arrived to take up the running from Aircraftman with the pair well clear of the remainder when Aircraftman tipped up. This was a tragedy for the Mouse Morris yard as the four-year-old was well regarded. He was an impressive point-to-point winner when handled by Gordon Elliott and looked to be making a highly satisfactory hurdling debut.
By Green Tune, who is a son of Green Desert, the winner is out of a Medicean mare which would suggest that this trip and Winter ground would be against him. He is likely to be dropped back in distance and could well be decent come the Spring.
The French import Vicky De L’Oasis, who created a favourable impression when opening her account at Galway, did so again when making most of the running to capture the mares hurdles over two and a half miles.
An odds-on chance the four year old was pulling the arms out of Ruby Walsh and he wisely allowed her to bowl along after jumping the first hurdle. She was always in command thereafter and her three and a half length winning margin could have been much greater had Walsh desired. In his post remarks Mullins revealed that his charge will be kept to mares races this term and also drop back in distance.
Evesham Star put her best foot forward when landing the two and a half mile 84-100 handicap for the Charles Byrnes establishment. A market drifter, the Flemensfirth mare has inherited some of her sire’s temperament but also his ability. After racing in mid division she improved under pressure to hit the front jumping the last flight before getting to the wire a head clear of Wells China.
Arthur Moore was on hand to greet Back Off Mate after the Old Vic gelding took the two mile and three beginners chase in workmanlike fashion under David Casey. Always close to the leading group Back Off Mate came for his race in the straight and in spite of jumping out to his right had enough in reserve to defeat Getittogether by an extended three lengths.
Jim Dreaper’s runner Sizing India is proving very expensive to follow, he was not exactly foot perfect but was near enough before the straight however, he went rapidly into reverse from there and was a long way adrift of the winner in third place.
Paul Nolan has a big following at the venue and he kept his supporters happy when Dick Dundee, under a stylish ride from Mikey Fogarty, landed the 117-128 handicap chase.
In what looked a wide open contest Dick Dundee was an easy to back favourite at 4/1. He was right on the tail of the leader from the drop of the flag before hitting the front four fences from home and galloped all the way to the line for a facile three and a quarter length victory over the Willie Mullins-trained Toostrong.
Nolan reported post-race that the eight-year-old has a history of leg trouble but the present ground suits him. He might not be seen again until Christmas at Leopardstown, but as the trainer pointed out it’s one day at a time with him.
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