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Celebrations on hold as Townend wins Down Royal opener

Roll Again and Paul TownendRoll Again and Paul Townend
© Photo Healy Racing

"It wasn't a strong race and he galloped and he jumped away. He stumbled at the third last was the only thing," said yesterday's Gold Cup hero Paul Townend after winning the opening Racing TV Maiden Hurdle at Down Royal on Roll Again (100/30 into 11/4).

Like his all-important victory in the Cotswolds on Friday on Al Boum Photo, this one was for Townend's boss as well, Willie Mullins, who has care of the victorious Walk In The Park gelding for Mrs Paul Shanahan and Mrs John Magnier.

Roll Again was never far away before accounting for Arthur's Quay by three and three parts of a length.

Reflecting on the Gold Cup, championship leader Townend (now ahead by 11) reflected: "It's starting to sink in a bit now. We watched the video a few times but no celebrations yet as we had to come here today."

The Stewards fined S.R.B. Crawford, trainer, €350 for lodging a passport in respect of Lily's Gem, in which the vaccinations did not conform with the provisions of Rule 91. The Stewards ordered the withdrawal of Lily's Gem in accordance with the provisions of Rule 90.

I.J. McCarthy, rider of Banrion Na Speire trained by William J. McLernon, reported to the Clerk of Scales that his mount never handled the ground and pulled up.

At the request of the Stewards, L.A. McKenna, rider of Paul Patterson trained by J.J.Lambe, reported to the Stewards' Secretaries that his saddle slipped on the way to the first and he pulled up.

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board Veterinary Officer examined Cosmo's Moon trained by Noel Meade, at the request of the Stewards and reported the animal to be post race normal.

(MG & EM)

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