Gordon Elliott rounds off stellar weekend as mudlark Braeside bolts up
It was fitting the clocks went back earlier in the day given the grim winter afternoon that signalled a seasonal change, but the deep, wet ground proved right up the street of Braeside, the Gordon Elliott-trained gelding who ran out a convincing winner of the feature Paddy Power Cork Grand National.
The son of Presenting had not been seen since disappointing at Fairyhouse in February and had yet to win over fences, but he travelled like a dream and, once he carried himself to the front at the third-last, it was plain sailing as he comfortably held off fellow seasonal debutant Screaming Colours by three lengths.
It rounded off a memorable weekend for Elliott after saddling seven winners over the two-day festival at Down Royal.
Winning rider Jack Kennedy said: "He travelled and jumped great and did it well. He loved that ground, and the further the better for him. He jumps for fun and is a grand staying horse. The one worry I had coming here was fitness maybe, but he proved me wrong and did it well."
He received an opening quote of 50-1 from Paddy Power for the Randox Grand National.
Mullins duo excel
More quality came from two Emmet Mullins-trained novices, and both could be on the way to Fairyhouse for Grade 1 assignments.
The maiden hurdle went to Brian Hayes and Crowns Major, who overcame any doubts about the testing ground to register a commanding victory over the consistent Figurehead and decent Flat handicapper Luke Short.
Mullins said: "I was a bit worried about the ground but that is a great start. It wasn't his Derby today and I told Brian to teach him as much as he could.
"He jumps well and had schooled well at home and came through nicely. He was a bit green in front going to the last but hopefully there's plenty more in the tank."
He added: "He was rated 97 on the Flat, jumps well and will get an entry for the Royal Bond. Being that slick is a huge asset to have with that pace. He's exciting."
Stablemate Cape Gentleman also shone, producing a fine round of jumping to land the Grade 3 novice chase, providing Hayes with a double.
Mullins said: "He jumped great again and handled the ground, it's good to get that second run into him and a bit more experience. He's probably entitled to go to Fairyhouse now for the Drinmore.
"It's a great advantage going forward to have those two runs under his belt. If he puts in another performance like that he will take some beating wherever he goes."
The former jockey completed the first treble of his second career when 30-100 favourite Agritime struck in the bumper under the trainer's cousin Patrick Mullins.
Time right for Braeside Tynan
Matty Tynan has an improving novice hurdler on his hands in Chicago Time, who relished the step up in trip to capture the 3m Listed novice chase under Sean O'Keeffe.
"It's unbelievable and it's great for racing when a small yard wins this type of race," said Tynan.
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