clonmel 21st Feb
Left to right, Belle Brook, Canaly (winner), Miradane and Immediate Response
(Healy Racing Photos)
Rathlin (16-1) made a welcome return to the winner's enclosure in the Munster Hurdle at Clonmel, but the victory was tinged with good fortune.
Having his first run over timber since May 2011, the Mouse Morris-trained winner looked more likely to finish second but odds-on favourite Unika La Reconce made a costly mistake at the last, which allowed Bryan Cooper's mount another chance.
The eight-year-old duly took it, fighting past the mare to claim a three-quarter-length verdict.
A head-bobbing finish to the Powerstown Chase resulted in another win for Cooper aboard the Dessie Hughes-trained Canaly.
Punters latched onto the fact Paul Townend was in the saddle for the first time and the 6-1 chance didn't disappoint, swooping to join Security Breach at the last before pulling a length and a quarter clear.
O'Brien and Townend doubled up through Viaduct Joey in the Bishop Auckland Theatre Hooligans Novice Handicap Chase.
A mistake from Mizuri Cowboy at the second last handed the seven-year-old the initiative and the 8-1 chance found plenty for pressure after the last, pulling two and a quarter lengths away.
Willie Austin's Blazing Sonnet (6-4 favourite) appreciated a drop in class when breaking through at the 11th time of asking in the Demesne Maiden Hurdle, while Tipped Up Harry, trained by Denise Foster, held the late rally of Caddy Man to claim the Kilsheelan Beginners Chase at odds of 7-1.
The concluding Suir (Q.R.) Handicap Hurdle went to Colman Sweeney on the well-backed top-weight Fiery Oscar.
The 5-2 favourite held the persistant challenge of Battlemount to score by one and a quarter lengths.
Tipped Up Harry began his racing life in a point-to-point that went to Goulanes – now unbeaten from three racecourse runs and an RSA Chase fancy. Well Tipped Up Harry may be a long way inferior to that one in terms of ability but he was still up to making a winning chase debut in Clonmel's Kilsheelan Beginners Chase.