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American Mike makes winning start over hurdles

American Mike and Jack Kennedy win at Down Royal American Mike and Jack Kennedy win at Down Royal
© Photo Healy Racing

American Mike justified short odds when getting off the mark at the first attempt over flights in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Hurdle at Down Royal.

Those that took the 1-6f about the market leader had a couple of anxious moments however, as he momentarily looked in trouble after a slow jump four out and again when jumping to his right at the penultimate flight.

Keith Donoghue was intent on making this a real test on runner up Letsbeclearaboutit taking up the running early on the final circuit and kicking on off the home bend.

However, Jack Kennedy loomed up menacingly on the eventual winner on the run to two out and after recovering from a slight mistake at that hurdle, he quickly gathered his mount and went clear from the back of the last.

Gordon Elliott said: "He didn't really do much - he (Jack Kennedy) said he was kind of asleep under him most of the way. He says there is plenty of improvement and that he was always just in second gear to be honest.

"He said he was a bit novicey at a few of his jumps. It might not actually do him any harm just in behind, (instead of being) 25 lengths in front on his own the whole way. He was good over the last two. He said he'll come on, so we are happy.

"The plan is definitely Navan (2m4 Grade 3 Monksfield Novice Hurdle on 27th)."

In relation to the trip, Elliott added: "Jack said he fell asleep, but he won a point-to-point. We will definitely be 2m4f up rather than back. A better race will suit him better."

Paddy Power left American Mike unchanged at 5/1 for the Ballymore Novices Hurdle, while they now go 7/1(from 9/1) for the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle. The firm are unchanged at 14/1 for the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

Additional reporting by Michael Graham

About John O'Riordan
John has worked for the Press Association since 2022. He also writes a weekly column for The Irish Field and is a regular contributor to the Irish Racing Yearbook. He has previously written for the Racing Post, Irish Examiner and Irish Daily Mirror. He has been involved in racing for over three decades; having experience as a syndicate member, sole owner and breeder.