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Dublin: 11 °C Thursday 9 April, 2020
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Drama in Thurles, as Noel Meade-trained Tout Est Permis triumphs

Jockey Sean Flanagan had more joy later in the day.

Trainer Noel Meade and jockey Sean Flanagan (file pic).
Trainer Noel Meade and jockey Sean Flanagan (file pic).
Image: PA Wire

IT’S A RARITY in Ireland these days for just one horse to finish alone at the head of affairs, but that’s exactly what happened in the BetVictor WT O’Grady Memorial Irish EBF Novice Hurdle at Thurles this afternoon.

Just three went to post for the extended two-and-three-quarter mile contest that was reduced to just two runners when Monbeg Worldwide was fatally injured after falling at the third last. There was more drama to come after Rachael Blackmore produced Cool Saint to challenge the 4/5 market leader First Approach from the second last only to crash out after gaining a fractional advantage gong best at the final flight, leaving Sean Flanagan’s mount to come home alone.

Winning trainer Noel Meade and his stable jockey Flanagan had more joy later in the day when the gallant grey Tout Est Permis stayed on stoutly under pressure to deny the front-running Sub Lieutenant on the line in the featured Grade 2 Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase.

The first and second both carried the famous colours of Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, who sadly lost the Gordon Elliott-trained Monbeg Worldwide earlier in the day.

“He wants further and he wants softer ground, that was plenty quick enough for him,” said Meade of Tout Est Permis.

“He could well run in the Ryanair. He’s improving all the time and getting stronger all the time. I doubt he’ll run before Cheltenham. The Red Mills Chase at Gowran is a possibility but two and a half miles there might bottom him out. I’ll have to talk to the lads and we’ll see, he’s in both the Ryanair and the Gold Cup.”

He added: “I got more of a kick out of that than any winner for a long time because I watched it down at the last and I was sure he was going to be beaten. I couldn’t believe he got up!”

Champion trainer Willie Mullins has had a frustrating few weeks but will certainly have enjoyed looking at the performance of the rapidly improving Camelia De Cotte, as the Rich and Susannah Ricci-owned mare made it five wins from her last six starts as she landed the Grade 2 Coolmore-sponsored mares novice chase at Thurles on Sunday.

Making all and jumping really well for Paul Townend, the daughter of Laveron had her rivals in trouble a long way out, and stretched clear again in the straight to beat Grey Waters by 20 lengths.

After landing the Grade 2 mares hurdle at Ascot yesterday with Magic Of Light, Commonstown trainer Jessica Harrington made a quick return to the winner’s enclosure when landing the opening Connolly’s Red Mills Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle at Thurles.

In the colours of David Bobbett and ridden by Robbie Power, the 8-13 favourite made most of the running, just hit a little bit of a flat spot before the turn into the straight, but picked up well before the last and stayed on well to beat newcomer Stowie Belle by three lengths.

– Brian Fleming

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