Craddockstown now a Noble intention
After saddling winners at the opening day of Punchestown's latest two-day meeting, trainers Paul Nolan, Noel Meade, Michael O'Hare and Gordon Elliott were all again on the mark yesterday with the former this time saddling an impressive double.
The trio of Nolan, Meade and Elliot were still attending the Newmarket Horses In Training Sales, which ends this evening, and they will be delighted with how things went in their absence.
Nolan's Noble Prince was arguably the classiest on hurdle form to contest the Dobbins Panoramic Restaurant Beginners Chase and he justified his favourite tag to run out a cosy length-and-a-quarter winner under man of the moment, Paul Carberry.
A mistake at the second last by the Jessica Harrington-trained Saludos as good as ruled out his chances as Healy's Bar finished closest to the winner with Bob Lingo finishing third.
James Nolan, brother of the winning trainer earmarked a return to Punchestown next month.
"He could go for the Drinmore, but we would just have a question mark over him fully seeing out the trip in a thoroughly run staying race which the Drinmore can be, so I would say he will come back here for the Craddockstown Chase.
"We made a mess of his season last year, running him back in the Lismullen Hurdle seven days after he won at Naas.
"And at Cheltenham maybe we should have ran him in the Coral Hurdle rather than the Country Hurdle, but hindsight is a great thing."
Seafield had earlier instigated the Nolan brace after he made a winning debut over hurdles in the Punchestown Event Centre maiden.
Sent off a 7/1 chance, the winner is a half brother to his high-profile stable companion, Jonclol, and carrying the same colours of Kay Browne he too looks like holding a bright future.
Indeed the win, this one partnered by Alain Cawley, came as a bit of a surprise to connections.
"I didn't think he had enough done coming into the race today," said Nolan.
"He hasn't been away from home so that was all on homework and Alain was brilliant on him.
"He never panicked and said he had a blow seven-furlongs out and one after the last. You would expect from today he might just be special.
"We will look for a winners of one in three weeks time and the Barry And Sandra Kelly Memorial would have to be an option."
Paul Carberry returned to the winners enclosure for the Christmas Parties at Punchestown Beginners Chase which was won in good fashion by Thegreatjohnbrowne.
Noel Meade's charge was always held in high regard and despite going the wrong way over hurdles towards the back end of last season, he seemed to return to something of his best to hold Bostons Angel and the well regarded Arabella Boy.
Meanwhile, Gordon Elliott's early trailblazing at the head of the trainers championship continued in the concluding Thoroughbred County Mares Bumper as Brave Beauty gave Jamie Codd a second bumper winner in as many days as the six-year-old won on her first start for the trainer.
Michael O'Hare was present to see his couple of winners over the two days and and yesterday Andrew Lynch was again onboard to partner Sweet Shock to win the Thoroughbred Trail Weekend Maiden Hurdle.