Red-hot Andratx gives McNiff a double

Red-hot Andratx gives McNiff a double

Andratx and Andrew Ring on their way to victory ©Healy Racing Photos By Michael Graham Andratx brought up his treble in good style in the extended two mile one rated novice hurdle at Downpatrick. He gave trainer Mark McNiff a double on the card as Atlantic Breaker also took the opening maiden hurdle.<Andratx (4/1) moved into the lead for Andrew Ring at the second last and was pushed out after the last to score by eight and half lengths. Theydon Park stayed on for second at 13/2. He came in a head in front of 5/2 favourite Whats The Plot. Mark McNiff said: “The horse that ended up favourite (Whats The Plot) was (almost) 10 lengths behind us with only a 1lb difference in the weights the last day they met. We had course form along with it. “He’s a grand little horse. The plan was to come here after Ballinrobe, which was a good while for a summer horse, so that worked out. Maybe we’ll go for a mile and a half at Galway on the Wednesday on the flat.” When asked about training horses for Downpatrick, in light of his record here, he replied: “I train them on the beach, it is extremely flat!” McNiff has been operating at a near 20 per cent strike rate at Downpatrick from 2013 and only Gordon Elliott has trained more winners at the northern venue since then.
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Walsh times it well on Decision

Decision Time takes the bumper for Katie Walsh ©Healy Racing Photos By Alan Magee Decision Time opened her account at the sixth attempt when taking the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares bumper at Downpatrick. The daughter of Milan went close when prominently ridden at Tramore last time, and Katie Walsh elected to bide her time on this occasion. The John Kiely-trained six-year-old was produced to challenge at the final bend, and the 3/1 chance responded to a strong drive from Walsh. She stayed on well up the closing hill to beat Osco Mosco by five and a half lengths, with Getaway Katie a further length and a quarter away in third. The 2/1 favourite Blixt cut out a lot of the running but could find no extra at the business end to finish fourth.
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Walsh booked for Button at Downpatrick

Downpatrick Racecourse ©Healy Racing Photos Ruby Walsh travels up to Downpatrick for two rides on Saturday (rides Sharps Choice 1st) and Ben Button can make his trip worthwhile by landing the Molson Coors Handicap Hurdle. The seven-year-old makes his first outing since joining the all-powerful Willie Mullins string in the two-mile-six-furlong contest. Mullins has a terrific record with improving horses coming from other yards and given that the Double Eclipse gelding showed plenty of promise early in his career, there looks something to work on.< Ben Button was placed in Grade Three company back in November 2015 but was well beaten in a couple of runs last year. He is sure to be fit and firing coming from Closutton now and may be able to recapture his best. Gordon Elliott has a strong presence at the northern venue and saddles three runners in the main event. Vanishing Point, with Bryan Cooper on board, would appear the pick of the trio and could be a danger. He won his maiden hurdle at Clonmel last month and wasn't disgraced when fourth at Ballinrobe subsequently in a decent conditions event won by the smart Dandy Mag. The four-year-old tries his luck in handicap company now and looks in off a fair enough mark of 121. Glendine River is sure to prove popular in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Handicap Hurdle after an easy victory at Tramore earlier in the month. Dermot O'Brien's charge seems to have an affinity for turning tracks and connections will be hoping she can transfer that form to the similar course in the north. Elliott saddles Strike Is Back in opposition and will be hoping the application of cheekpieces can spark that mare back to her best form. The top-rated horse on the card is Harold Peto and connections will be hoping he can break his duck over jumps in the Eire Og GAC Fundraiser Maiden Hurdle. The Alan Fleming-trained gelding ran some decent races in good company over the winter and was second at Killarney on his most recent outing last month. With a mark of 122, he would be expected to be good enough to land a summer maiden hurdle of this standard. The potential improver in the field is the Joseph O'Brien-trained Immortal Bridge, who shaped with some promise when fourth behind easy winner Lac Kivu at Punchestown late last month.
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