Urano & Paul Townend (left) jump the last just ahead of Ally Cascade and Davy Russell
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
The Noel Meade trained Ally Cascade just got the better of market rival Urano to take the first at Thurles this afternoon, the 4yo Cahir Maiden Hurdle.
The Gigginstown House Stud owned gelding won his bumper on his second start at Fairyhouse last month before he just went down by three parts of length to Jezki on his hurdling debut at Naas.
Considering Jezki went on to easily win a Grade 3 hurdle, Ally Cascade was expected to oblige this afternoon and he was sent off the 2/5 favourite with Davy Russell in the saddle.
The son of Golan raced in third for much of the contest before he improved into a close second and challenged at two out.
He and Urano then had a good battle from there, with the odds-on favourite just gaining the upper hand near the line to win by half a length.
The French import Urano had to settle for second on his debut for Willie Mullins with Paul Townend aboard at the odds of 7/2.
The Christy Roche trained Speckled Wood (who is a daughter of the high class mare Like-A-Butterfly) ran an encourage race on her debut to finish a further six and a half lengths back in third under Alan Crowe at 33/1.
Noel Meade said afterwards: "He is a fair horse. If he had won the last day he would be going for the Royal Bond (on Sunday). He will go for a Grade 1 hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas now.
"Davy was delighted with the way he jumped the last. He jumped ordinary earlier on. He did what we expected him to do today."
Stan James make the winner at 33/1 chance (from 50's) for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
(Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes)