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Blackmore and de Bromhead double up with Inthepocket

Inthepocket sent on by Rachael BlackmoreInthepocket sent on by Rachael Blackmore
© Photo Healy Racing

Inthepocket held on by a neck to take the spoils in the Grade 2 Tote Navan Novice Hurdle over an extended two miles three furlongs which was rescheduled to Naas today.

He brought up a double for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore who also won the opener via Journey With Me

This looked a hot contest on paper and Gordon Elliott was well represented with three of the six runners lining up.

The final two flights were omitted due to low-lying sun and it was front-running Absolute Notions who led over their last flight (normal three out) from Three Card Brag

Inthepocket took closer order in third over three furlongs out as the field settled down to distribute the prize money with all the jumping completed.

Inthepocket took full advantage of a gap between Absolute Notions and Three Card Brag a quarter of a mile out to mount his challenge.

He travelled strongly to lead over a furlong from home, however, the race wasn't over as Three Card Brag rallied well in the closing stages for Adrian Heskin and took aim at Inthepocket. Their late thrust saw them come up a neck short of the winner. Both horses were both returned at 9/4.

Owner JP McManus' racing manager Frank Berry said: “He jumps well and the last two hurdles being out wasn’t a help, but maybe it wasn’t a help to any of them. That was a good performance.

“He didn’t do a lot in front but it’s a good step up from his maiden in Wexford and you could only be pleased with what he did. He learned from his last run.

“Henry was keen to go two and a half with him but you never know with a bit more experience he could easily go back in trip.

“He’s entered in the Lawlors Novice Hurdle back here (on January 8) so we’ll see how he is.”

Inthepocket won a point-to-point in November last year before taking his maiden hurdle in Wexford by six lengths at the end of October.

Paddy Power cut him from 25/1 to 12/1 for the Ballymore and made Three Card Brag 20/1 from 25/1 for the same race. The latter was trimmed from 10/1 to 8/1 for the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey's Handicap Hurdle.

Additional reporting by Alan Magee

About Michael Graham
Michael has worked in horse racing journalism for more than 15 years, having also written a weekly betting column on Gaelic football and hurling for a newspaper. He is involved in writing the My Racing Story features on this website. He spent a year in South Africa completing a Diploma in Business Administration and also studied Newspaper Journalism in Belfast. He enjoys playing 5-a-side football on a regular basis.