Colin McBratney was singing the praises of Denis O’Regan after he guided Benefit North to a first win under rules at Downpatrick.
Local trainer McBratney won the Galway Plate with Ballyholland in 2009 and Benefit North sported the same white and yellow silks of owner Cathal McGovern in the Racing TV Handicap Hurdle
Having initially dropped in, O’Regan moved his mount into a clear advantage four out and it was a lead he would not relinquish, coming home a length and three-quarters clear of Kilmurry to reward punters at 20-1.
“That was a great ride from Denis and he’s a great man to have on board,” said McBratney.
“He’s a very, very pacey horse. He travels so easy and we knew he would travel at the top of the hill. He got a couple of lengths and was able to freewheel down the hill.
“I was expecting a good run. Bryan Cooper rode him in Leopardstown the last day and said he was only in second gear when he fell at the second-last.
“The form has since been franked, so we thought we were going to be bang there today.
“There was a bit of money for him, but we have nothing to spend it on!”
McBratney also saddled Castlebawn to finish second at 100-1 in the hunter chase behind David Christie’s On The Sod, who was maintaining his unbeaten career record.