Battling Spirit (Katie O'Farrell) leads Ballymadun over the last
©Healy Racing Photos
By Alan Magee
The market proved spot-on in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle as well-backed favourite Battling Spirit lived up to his name to score at Clonmel.
The Jonathan Sweeney-trained gelding made a promising return after over two years on the sidelines here last month, and was certainly expected to progress from that outing.
The very lightly raced ten-year-old gelding was backed from 9/2 into 9/4 favourite before racing, and duly justified the confidence but only after a protracted battle with Ballymadun.
The pair came right away in the straight, with Katie O’Farrell’s mount asserting on the run-in to score by four and a quarter lengths.
There was a huge gap of 41 lengths back to In Our Blood in third.
Sweeney said, "That was great as he was off the track for two years before running here last month. I got him during the summer and that's his second run for me and he had been doing everything well at home.
"He is a lovely horse and will stay over hurdles for the season. I believe he has had his trouble along the way but touch wood he has stayed in one piece so far."
(TW & AM)