Carberry cool for a top treble
Absent trainers Noel Meade and Gordon Elliott continued their good run of form at Punchestown yesterday, as did jockey Paul Carberry as he recorded a treble with the aid of the Co Meath-based trainers.
Meade and Elliott were both off attending the Newmarket Horses In Training Sales in a bid to add to their current string and it was the former champion trainer who got off running with a short priced double.
Perfect Smile justified his odds on tag to score for the first time over hurdles in the opening Dobbins Catering At Punchestown maiden, winning as his 1/3 price suggested he would with a five-and-a-half-length success over the decent Crom Abu.
Meade's Aitmatov now carries the colours of the trainer himself having been formerly owned by a good friend, the late John O'Meara, and he would have been delighted to see the nine-year-old claim a ninth victory over hurdles.
The 4/6 favourite made most of the running under Carberry and, while Jigalo loomed like a winner and Leblon wouldn't go away, the winner eventually pulled out all the stops after the last to secure a three-length victory.
Carberry had to wait until the penultimate race of the card to complete his treble as Gordon Elliott maintained his position at the head of the Irish trainers championship when Fool's Wildcat landed the 2011 Five Day Festival Handicap Hurdle.
Meade was denied a treble and Carberry a four-timer when Ferris Bueller held Lean Times by a head in the Madigans Bars At Punchestown Maiden Hurdle to cause a 33/1 surprise for Conor O'Dwyer.
It was a welcome return to the winners enclosure for jockey Nicky O'Shea who only returned to the saddle last month after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.
O'Dwyer earmarked a winners-of-one hurdle for the Gigginstown Stud-owned four-year-old who he clearly holds in high regard.
Those colours of Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown Stud were earlier first past the post when the Paul Nolan-trained Far Away So Close battled hard to deny Hazeymm by a neck.
Nolan was another to be on duty at Newmarket, while Davy Russell was also returning to winning ways. But Nolan's brother James said that if Far Away So Close comes out of the race well he could go for the Grade Three For Auction Hurdle at Navan on November 7.
Meanwhile, trainer Adrian Maguire is plotting another National win with Golden Kite and he has been installed a 7/1 chance by sponsors Paddy Power for Sunday's paddypower.com Cork Grand National.
The eight-year-old was triumphant in the Munster National at Limerick earlier this month having earlier in the summer won the Midlands equivalent at Kilbeggan.
"The intention is to go to the Cork National," Maguire said. "He has come out of the Munster National very well and he seems in good form. I suppose fitness is important to any horse over 3m4f."
Maguire will again be using Shane Hassett, who was onboard at Limerick last time, but the trainer is hopeful the Mallow course avoids any rain this week.
"He is best on good ground and it would be a worry if the ground went a bit softer. I'd be liking to think that he can win again, but whether it is Sunday, I don't know!"
Top weight looks like being Pat Fahy's Miss Mitch, while champion trainer Willie Mullins is represented by Pomme Tiepy and the in-form Noel Meade has Sigma Lifestyle engaged. Paddy Power have made the latter joint 5/1 favourite with Mouse Morris' Tinakellylad.
Maguire is hoping to avoid the rain, but it will be a case of the more the better for Davy Fitzgerald's Operation Houdini. Only 17 entries were made for the race which is worth €35,750 to the winner.