Dorans River (noseband) comes to win his race under Keith Donoghue
©Healy Racing Photos
Appropriately as it turned out a grey horse (Toccata Blue) jumping off in predominantly orange colours at the back of the field put one in mind of Labaik. The winner of the Friday Night Alright Maiden Hurdle at Downpatrick had strong connections to the Supreme Novices' hero as Gordon Elliott trains and Keith Donoghue rode Dorans River.
On debut for the yard off a 143 day break, Dorans River had plenty of takers in the pre-race markets, going off a 4/1 shot, and he delivered by three and a quarter lengths from Penance to give Donoghue a return winner.
The talented rider had announced in March that he'd be taking a break from the game owing to weight issues.
Donoghue said: "It's nice to come back and get a winner. We didn't really know much about him, it was his first run for Gordon (Elliott). He did it very well, he loved the ground and jumped brilliantly and did it easily."
On his sabbatical from riding he said: "It has been a struggle. When I went out my weight went up to 12-10 and I have it back around 11-7 now. I'm just going to do 11-7 as the lightest for a while and see what happens. There will be plenty of opportunities for Gordon in maiden hurdles and beginners' chases. I'm happy enough to do that."
On tonight's going Donoghue said: "It's lovely ground."
S.E. Butler, rider of Ciaoifsin trained by Jarlath P.Fahey, reported to the Clerk of Scales that his saddle slipped after jumping the second last hurdle.
(MG & EM)