Legal Exit gets Leopardstown verdict
Legal Exit bounced back from a fall on his debut over jumps to foil hotpot Urano in the Frank Conroy Memorial Maiden Hurdle at Leopardstown.
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Barry Geraghty brought the Jim Culloty-trained six-year-old to head Urano after a good jump at the final flight and bounded clear of the 1-2 favourite on the run to the line to score by four lengths.
Culloty said of the 12-1 winner: "I've always thought the world of him and I view this year as a stepping stone as he is really a chaser for next year.
"I won't aim too high for him this season and will probably look for a winners' of one next. We'll look after him and hopefully we'll see the best of him in novice chases next season."
There was drama early on in the race when Tony McCoy's mount Some Article crashed through the rail. Both horse and rider appeared unscathed.
There was a thrilling conclusion to the Tote Price Promise Handicap Hurdle as the market principles fought out the finish.
The lightly raced Talbot Road edged in front in the straight but was soon challenged on his inside by Sammy Black.
However, neither runner proved a match for the 7/2 favourite Shariyan who came home with a wet sail towards the centre of the track to take the honours for Robbie Power and Colm Murphy despite a mistake at the last.
"We were hoping for a bit of luck in running and we were lucky at the last (hurdle) but credit to him for getting his momentum back," said Murphy.
"I'd imagine we'll go for another handicap and we're hoping he'll keep improving."
There was no such drama in the Donohoe Marquees (Pro/Am) Flat Race as Tony Martin's Blackmail (6/4f) made it third time lucky under Rules in the hands of amateur Robbie McNamara after finishing second on his first two starts.
The five year old barely come off the bridle in beating Sizing Chile by three lengths in a race Martin took with Ted Veale 12 months ago.
"That was a super performance and he deserved it," said Martin.
"He won his point-to-point very well in the spring (at Templemore) and met a very good horse at Navan (Champagne James) before being beaten fair and square at Christmas.
"He has come back and done that very well, though. I think he is quite decent and is a real good-actioned horse and should be better on better ground.
"I'll have a chat with John (Breslin, owner) but I think he's plenty good enough to run in the Cheltenham Bumper. I'd prefer to keep him as a novice hurdler until next season."
Ruby Walsh completed a treble on the card and a four-timer for Willie Mullins when guiding Rupert Lamb (5/2) to victory in the Leopardstown Beginners Chase.
The grey made light of the testing conditions to make every yard in the two mile one contest to score by four lengths from Toner D'Oudairies.
"I think that's his trip and he'd like better ground but it's hard to see him being an Arkle Chase horse. He'll probably stay at home for the likes of Fairyhouse and Punchestown," said Mullins.
Tony McCoy got on the scoresheet with a last-gasp triumph on Competitive Edge (100/30 favourite) by a head from Quartetto in the Sandyford Handicap Chase for trainer Conor O'Dwyer.