Farmleigh House and Niall McCullagh winning for trainer Willie Martin
©Healy Racing Photos
The Willie Martin-trained Farmleigh House gained a richly-deserved success in the Ireland v England Stablestaff Soccer Handicap at Dundalk.
The 9-4 favourite had placed twice in his last three starts at this track and was held up just off the pace by Niall McCullagh.
Sweeping into the lead a furlong out, he kept on strongly to hold Elusive Ridge a length and three-quarters at bay.
Epic Encounter produced a sweet turn of foot to run out an easy winner of the first division of the Crowne Plaza Hotel Race And Stay Maiden.
Edward Lynam's charge travelled nicely throughout for Declan McDonogh, and the 13-2 chance put the race to bed in a matter of strides at the furlong pole, coming home four lengths clear of Lily Of Kenmare.
The application of first-time blinkers worked the trick for Mona Brown in the second division.
Jim Bolger's 3-1 favourite responded well to Kevin Manning's strong drive, fending off La Belle Maison's late challenge to win by half a length.
Another to benefit for the fitting of blinkers for the first time was Thebarberkelly, who landed a gamble when taking the first diviosin of the Come On The Irish Stablestaff Handicap.
Available at 33s in the morning, Peter McCreery's 5-1 winner was kept away from the scrimmaging by Michael Hussey and left all known form behind when beating Jumbo Steps by a length.
David Geraghty's Clare Harrier (7-1) got up in the final stride to land division two of the Come On The Irish Stablestaff Handicap, just denying Manning and Bolger's Confident Cub under Colin Keane.
Abstraction ran out a convincing winner of the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden to give Sarah Dawson her first winner since August.
Smartly away under Ronan Whelan, the 6-1 chance stretched clear in the home straight to beat Tylery Wonder by three and a quarter lengths.