Very good result for Elliott and Dempsey

Bumper winner Ballyadam also makes his mark.

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Jockey Luke Dempsey made the most of an unexpected opportunity as The Very Man continued his return to form with a decisive victory in the WKD Rated Hurdle at Downpatrick.

Gordon Elliott found another opportunity for The Very Man, whose maiden hurdle success at Naas last month was his first since a Navan bumper win in December 2018.

Dempsey was taking over in the saddle from Davy Russell – who sat out his Sunday rides, still feeling sore after a spill at Thurles 24 hours earlier.

Russell’s replacement had the Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old bang in contention entering the straight as they and outsider Jimmy Two Times took over from Kasakh Noir.

It still looked a good battle at the last, but The Very Man then surged clear to win by eight lengths at 9-4, with favourite Wajaaha collaring Jimmy Two Times for second.

Elliott expects the winner to continue to improve.

He said: “He’s a grand sort. He had been beaten a few times, but in fairness to him he had some lovely runs and bumped into a few (decent) horses.

“I like the way he stayed galloping – he’ll be OK.”

Elliott doubled up in the closing bumper as the expensive Ballyadam opened his account at the second time of asking.

Bought for £330,000 by Cheveley Park Stud after winning a point-to-point for Colin McKeever, he was beaten at 1-4 on his debut.

His supporters were not afraid of being bitten twice, however, as he was sent off the 1-6 favourite under Jamie Codd – and this time there was no mistake as he came home 18 lengths clear.

Codd was clearly impressed, while Elliott said: “The ground was too soft in Navan and he was a bit free, but he’s a good horse.”

The opening Connolly’s RED MILLS Irish EBF Auction Maiden Hurdle went to Barnaviddaun, ridden by David Mullins for his father, Tom.

It was a second successive winning ride for Mullins, following his graded success on Zero Ten at Thurles.

He had the 9-2 shot just in front running to the second-last, and they stayed on best to win by half a length from Hesamanofhisword, with hard-pulling favourite Vinnie Is Busy having to settle for third.

The winner was breaking his duck after being second the last twice, and Mullins said: “His last two runs were probably a bit sharp for him around Leopardstown, and I was only getting to know him around Fairyhouse.

“He stays well and is a big chaser in the making.

“He’s a well-deserved winner and it is great for his owner.”

Very good result for Elliott and Dempsey
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