IT was a day of doubles at Down Royal last Sunday and trainer Ian Donoghue completed his first brace under rules when Tankardstown Diva (7/1) was an eased-down winner of the Choose Fibrus Broadband Handicap Hurdle.

The grey daughter of Jukebox Jury, ridden by the trainer’s brother Keith and owned by Matthew Rogers, was value for a good deal more than the winning margin of a length and a quarter over longtime leader Plain Or Battered.

Trainer Donoghue said: “I was a little bit worried about stepping her up in trip as she can be very hard on herself.

“He kind of got there a bit soon and lit her up too early, so she locked on going to the fourth last. She is still doing things the hard way, but she is learning every run.

“She’ll stay going a while, she hasn’t been that busy really so we will probably keep going all summer with her.

“We had a double point-to-pointing before Christmas. So many of them have been called off. We have three or four left to run and they want nice ground.”

Making all

O’Faolains Glory (6/1) had initiated Donoghue’s double when making all under Carl Millar in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.

The Fame And Glory mare, owned by the Glory Hunters Syndicate, had six lengths to spare over Jacenry.

“She did it very well, she was nearly one you were afraid was too good a work horse, you’d be afraid she won’t put it in,” said the winning trainer.

“Carl gave her a great ride - he’s a great man for the likes of them as he doesn’t interfere, builds them up, and they keep galloping.”

First double

The 7lb claimer Millar went on to notch his own first double when Politicise (10/1) just got the better of Don’t Talk by a head in the Fibrus Total Home Wi-Fi Handicap Chase.

The winner hung right on the run-in, carrying Don’t Talk with him towards the far rail, and the duelling riders had their heads down to such an extent that both horses crashed through a spur of rail just after the winning line. Thankfully horses and riders emerged unscathed and the result was allowed to stand after an inquiry.

Winning trainer Nigel Slevin said of his winner who carries the colours of De Bad Back Syndicate: “He hit the crossbar a few times for me and had a great run at Leopardstown at Christmas.

“The syndicate that have him want to move him on, so he is going to go to Doncaster in May.

“Carl rode his first winner for me here in a bumper. I get on well with him and he does what you ask him, that’s all you can ask for.”

Dreal seals the Deal once again

DREAL Deal (7/1) gained a first win for new connections in the Fibrus Say Bye Bye To Buffering Beginners Chase.

Now owned by Mark Devlin, Philip Smith, Nigel O’Hare and Claire Wylie, the nine-year-old had been a Grade 2-winner as a novice hurdler in 2021 for the currently suspended Ronan McNally.

Here, under Simon Torrens, he travelled well behind the leaders before going on after two out to beat Duffle Coat by five and a half lengths.

Winning trainer John McConnell said: “He enjoyed himself there, you could see the class that he still has from three out to the last.

“We sort of backed off him in terms of how much work we do. He lives out in the field as well and that has only changed since his last run.

“He was good there and if he learns to jump a bit lower he could still have fun in nice races.

“It is great to get the win and we will try and plan a summer campaign for him. He’s a funny horse because he’s had a wind op and doesn’t want bottomless ground and he also doesn’t want real quick ground because he is a veteran next year.”

Back to form

Torrens rode his second winner of the afternoon when Weihnachts (22/1) bounced back to form in the Switch Today At Handicap Chase.

Also a second winner on the card for J.P. McManus, the 10-year-old led before the last to beat Marronstown by three and three-quarter lengths.

Winning trainer Philip Rothwell said: “He’s had bits of issues and little bits of problems since Christmas, but I just thought in the last couple of weeks he has come good.

“He has been trained predominantly from the paddock for the last few weeks and we were just saying coming in today that he was literally squealing.”

Byrnes winner has the right Approach

THE money came for Intent Approach in the Fibrus Says ‘No’ To Price Hikes Novice Handicap Hurdle and Charles Byrnes’ gelding did the business under Mark Walsh.

Owned by J.P. McManus, the winner was returned the evens favourite having been 4/1 overnight.

The Mahler gelding swept to the front on the run-in to beat Annaghbeg by a length and three quarters.

Byrnes said: “It didn’t look likely for a lot of it, but he got a great jump at the last.

“I thought he did jump better today – if he missed any of them today, he was in trouble. He needed that jump at the last and landed full of running and hit the line alright. He’ll jump a fence in time too.”

Also on the card, Lady Bluebird (9/2) made all under Eoghan Finegan in the Fibrus Fibrefast Broadband Mares Maiden Hurdle. The daughter of Retirement Plan, who scored by five lengths from Milanaway, is owned by the winning rider’s father James and trained by his uncle Hugh.

“She’s probably wants it even softer, but she’s as tough as you get, clear-winded and jumps for fun,” said the winning rider.