Action from the rated novice chase © Photo Healy Racing
Wexford natives Paul Nolan and Sean Flanagan combined to win the Slaney River Rated Novice Chase with Joyeux Machin
The first two fences in the home straight were taken out due to the low-lying sun leaving just eight to be jumped in total and all six runners were still in contention racing downhill to the straight for the final time.
Joyeux Machin, sent off 7/2, was in rear at that stage but moved fourth early in the straight before running short of room as he tried to challenge between horses. The gaps did eventually come for Flanagan and his mount headed Effernock Fizz in the final furlong to beat that rival and Lucky Zebo who had a troubled passage down the inner, by a length-and-a-quarter and the same.
Nolan, who trains the Saddler Maker gelding for Rectory Road Holdings Limited, said: "He disappointed us in Galway, he just ran a little bit flat. Ground is not an issue with him, although we were blaming it before. I thought he had a bit more bottle over a fence and maybe he will learn and get a bit more confidence with time. I'd say it wasn't an inconvenience that the last two were omitted.
"It was a decent race and it was run at a good pace. He was rated high enough over hurdles to run well in it and he was getting a 3lb allowance for not having won a race, so technically he was well enough in.
"The last day he ran here he missed the last in what was a decent beginners chase. Hubrisko has won since and Ballyadam was placed in Galway.
"There is no reason he can't go back over hurdles and we might mix it with him. I don't think he is as ground dependent as we thought. He finished out the race well and I like the way he hit the line. We might look for a winners-of-one for him now, we will see what's coming up in the next month."
Quotes from Donal Murphy