McCarthy Insurance Group Race DayNewly appointed number one jockey to Gigginstown House Stud Bryan Cooper celebrated his elevation with a win on Avondhu Lady at Cork.
The young rider, who will be settling into his new job from Monday, partnered the David Fenton-trained 6-4 favourite to win the McCarthy Insurance Group Mares Handicap Hurdle.
The nine-year-old chaser, who was making the most of a much lower rating over the smaller obstacles, led all the way under top weight and went clear between the last two flights to score by four and a half lengths.
There was mixed luck for Willie Mullins, whose triple bumper winner Wicklow Brave looked to have little more than a penalty kick for his jumps debut in the McCarthy Insurance Group Maiden Hurdle and obliged with ease.Paul Townend was always close up on the 2-5 favourite, who led four out and was never threatened as he cleared away from Synchronicity to win hard-held by seven lengths.
But the yard’s long odds-on Blood Cotil fell two out when in charge of the McCarthy Insurance Group Beginners Chase, and Jimmy Mangan’s Castle Wings (7-2), ridden by the trainer’s son Paddy, went on to score by 24 lengths.
Dermot Weld’s Waaheb (7-4) has not lived up to the potential of his early career but he has some decent form in the book and accounted for the odds-on Turban in the McCarthy Insurance Group Hurdle.
Mark Walsh settled in second behind the Mullins hotpot and challenged at the second-last before gradually getting on top to win a hard-fought duel by a length and a half.
James Dullea’s Benrouge (6-1) dug deep under Robbie Power to beat Asitsohappens by a short head in the second version of the maiden hurdle, while Tom Foley’s 9-2 favourite Playing won by nine lengths under Kevin Sexton in the McCarthy Insurance Group Handicap Chase.