Liosduin Bhearna, ridden by Paddy Brennan, was an appropriate winner on day two of Irish race weekend at Doncaster when beating the strong wind as well as his rivals in the 888Sport Handicap Hurdle.
The pair combined for trainer Fergal O’Brien to land a game success over the extended three miles by six and and a half lengths from the favourite Blackjack Kentucky, with Remastered third.
Brennan said of the 6-1 winner: “We went slow, so I knew I had to be on the pace and he did it well.
“I had to get there as it got a bit tactical early in the straight.
“He loved the ground and it’s very windy out there. I felt I was getting nowhere – that’s how tough it is.”
Irish eyes were smiling again when Brennan and the absent O’Brien completed a quick double through Gino Trail (9-2) in the 888Sport Bet £10 get £30 Handicap Chase.
The 13-year-old was having his first race since moving from Kerry Lee’s stable to O’Brien, and showed a change of scenery and regime can have a positive effect – even on a veteran campaigner.
Jumping with zest in front, Gino Trail kept up the gallop to cross the line three and three-quarter lengths to the good over Katpoli.
“He’s 13, but he had so much fun out there,” said Brennan.
“Horses love horse racing and he’s the perfect example.
“I’d never ridden him before, but I knew he’d done enough work at Fergal O’Brien’s that he wouldn’t get tired.
“We’ll enjoy today. Fergal will decide where he goes next, but he’ll be looked after.”
Richard Johnson struck on Stonific (100-30 favourite) – his only ride of the day after being rerouted from Newbury’s abandoned meeting.
The champion jockey confirmed he is no mood to give up his title to Brian Hughes without a fight, steering David O’Meara’s seven-year-old home by nine lengths from long-time leader Little Stevie in the 888Sport Download The App Handicap Hurdle.
Only four flights were jumped due to the low sun, but that did not hinder horse or rider.
“It was nice for him to get his head in front. With no hurdles in the straight I used the horse in front as a target,” said Johnson, who has ridden four winners from five rides since returning to action this week from injury.
“A long straight suits him and I’m sure he’ll win again over hurdles.
“Dave Roberts (agent) texted me last night saying if Newbury was off I could ride him. Disappointing Newbury was off, but nice to get the ride on him.”
Kepagge (15-8) made it three from three under rules with a second successive win over the smaller obstacles in the 888Sport Follow Us On Instagram Novices’ Hurdle.
David Pipe’s lightly-raced six-year-old comfortably beat the 8-13 favourite Firak by nine lengths under Tom Scudamore.
“He was a lot better today than he was at Leicester,” said the jockey. “He’s got an engine, that’s the main thing.”
The Brian Ellison-trained Kearney Hill (2-1) got the verdict by a nose from 13-8 favourite Nells Son in the 888Sport Standard National Hunt Flat Race under Jack Tudor.