Tophill Low and Kieren Buckley win the Adare Manor Maiden Hurdle © Photo Healy Racing
Tophill Low made just about all the running under jockey Kieren Buckley to run out an easy winner of the Adare Manor Opportunity Maiden Hurdle at Thurles.
The Lorna Fowler trained six-year-old was sent off 3/1 second favourite, behind even money chance Quirke's Gate The latter had finished less than two lengths ahead of Tophill Law when the pair met at Naas in January.
However, the gap was much bigger on this occasion, as Quirke's Gate could find no extra from three out, as Buckley skipped clear on the eventual winner. Free Flowing belied odds of 50/1 to stay on strongly for second, with 4/1 chance Goldwyn back in third. Quirke's Gate faded late on to eventually finish in fourth.
Winning trainer Lorna Fowler said: "in her last run there was no pace and she pulled her head off so we took her to a schooling race and left her go out in front and she went really well. Obviously some penny has dropped since then and she has become very professional.
"We have no doubt she has ability but we just have to get it right with her. All the races she's had, she has learned a lot and today was the chance to put her out in front. I was happy with her and was really hoping she'd win and would have been disappointed if she didn't.
"We'll look for black-type for sure and she is a chasing type who has already schooled over fences.
"The penny has really dropped since her last schooling race and she will stay in time."
Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes