Sure makes certain at Leopardstown
A review of the rest of Saturday's action from Leopardstown, other than the Lexus Chase and Christmas Hurdle.
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Sure Reef gave the top team of trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh a winning start at Leopardstown by taking the Madigans Maiden Hurdle.
The four-year-old gelding, owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie, had unseated Walsh at the first on his jumping debut, but made amends in pleasing fashion.
Held up in the early stages as Akorakor made most of the running, the 5/2 favourite led soon after negotiating the final flight and pulled three and a quarter lengths clear. Shield was second and Akorakor third.
Courage (14/1) wore-down Seefood on the run-in to come out on top in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle.
It looked as though Bryan Cooper's ploy to plough a lone furrow on Seefood was going to reap dividends as Deesie Hughes' charge turned for home with a clear advantage.
However, he could not hold the late challenge of Courage and David Casey with Charlie Swan's runner getting up in the last 100 yards to win by three-quarters of a length. Supreme Carolina was third and Gold Patrol fourth.
Casey said: "He ran well in Navan last time when they went too slow. He wants a strong pace, a distance and soft ground.
"It's great to win today with him. I thought I might have gone too early but the other horse was the danger and I had to give chase.
"In fairness, he put his head down and galloped."
Dysios (8/1) was given a patient ride by Barry Geraghty to get the better of Leah Claire in the Star Best For Racing Christmas Rated Hurdle.
There were several with chances between the final two flights, but nothing was going better than the Denis Cullen-trained Dysios, who battled on stoutly on the dash to the line to win by two lengths from Leah Claire.
The pace-setting Star Of Aragon plugged on for third.
Djakadam gave Mullins and Walsh a treble on the card, after the wins of Sure Reef and Zaidpour in the woodiesdiy.com Christmas Hurdle, when making a successful seasonal debut in the Ballymaloe Country Relish Beginners Chase.
The 11/8 favourite proved best in a three-way battle in the closing stages as he warded off Si C'Etait Vrai by a length and a quarter with Minsk just behind in third.