The highlight of the day at Lingstown was the Hearne Line Marking open cross country race where the increased prize fund of €3,000 saw no less than 15 runners head across the country tackling variety of 32 obstacles.
Festival Opera recorded an impressive victory under the guidance of Luke McGuinness for handler Philip Dempsey in this strongly run edition of the race that saw seven finishers.
The son of Milan ran out an easy winner, defeating the Jim Dreaper-trained Venitien De Mai by 15 lengths.
The Denis Beary-owned 11-year-old will now be aimed at the Ladies Cup race in Punchestown, a race that he finished third in last year.
Local rider Mark Scallan enjoyed a successful day at Lingstown on Sunday recording a double on the card.
Scallan's first winner came aboard Costalotmore in the Slaney Foods five-year-old geldings' maiden. Running in the colours of winning owner/breeder Desmond Ellard, the son of Primary held off the late challenge of Denis Murphy's Goodoldtimes and Jamie Codd.
The winner was coming off of the back of a fifth-place finish in the five-year-old geldings' at Punchestown three weeks ago.
The winning rider/trainer said: “We got no run at Punchestown and probably should have won there as he is a decent horse. The owners bred him and I would say they will look to keep him and either go for a winner race or bumper now. They are locals here to the track so it is great for them.”
Scallan's second success of the day came aboard Spanish Leather in the Rostoonstown Stud winner of two race.
The Brian Jordan-trained son of Ask, was given a positive ride by Scallan, as the pair kicked for home rounding the final bend.
The six-year-old gelding gained enough of an advantage to see off the challenge of Ya Boy Ya who was ridden by James Kenny for his father Liam.
The locally-based winning handler said: “He did that well. He threw away a winners race at Tinahely a fortnight ago where they only walked around for two and-a-half laps and the filly that beat him just got first run and he could never get by her. He made amends here and on home turf too which is nice. We will try to sell him if we can, but if not he will go for another winner of two race."
Success in the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham four-year-old maiden went to handler Donnchadh Doyle with Bravemansgame.
In the hands of Co. Wicklow rider James Walsh, the French-bred gelding defeated Colin Bowe’s For Talks Sake by a distance of eight lengths.
The winning gelding kicked for home on the approach to the fourth-last, striding clear of the 11-runner field in impressive fashion.
The son of Brave Mansonnien was a €48,000 sales graduate purchased by Doyle last June.
Eamon Doyle, the winning handler’s brother said; “He is a machine. We think an awful lot of him but he did that well despite being a bit green. He made a bad mistake with a mile to go, but it was pure ability that made it still look that good. James (Walsh) gave him a brilliant ride too. Hopefully, he will be sound in the morning and will then go to the Cheltenham sales now.”
Ard Abhainn made a winning debut in the Padge Berry and Moortown Stud Race five-year-old mares’ maiden for handler Bernie Murphy.
In the hands of Kevin Corrigan, the daughter of Jeremy defeated the Cormac Farrell-trained Get The Appeal by a distance of one-and-a-half lengths.
Both Ard Abhainn and Get The Appeal pulled clear of the ten-runner field in the closing stages of the race.
The winner was purchased by owner Pat Coffey at the Derby Sale in 2017 for €10,500 and the mare will now be offered for sale.
The winning handler Bernie Murphy said: “We fancied her as she is well-bred. I got her from Pat (Coffey) last year and we got no run with her. I just gave her a bit of time because she was big, and I am hoping that she will get to the sales now. I’m delighted to have had the winner in the green and gold for Pat (Coffey) as it means a lot.”
Success in the IRE Wel Pallets six-year-old and upwards maiden went to the Bernard Crowley-trained Knockenagh.
The Malinas gelding, who was ridden by Paul Power, recorded a decisive eight-length victory over the Vincent Devereaux-trained Getawaytonewbay.
The winner, owned by the Four Counties Racing Syndicate, had finished a fine second on his debut at Boulta in January when beaten by three lengths.
Winning handler Bernard Crowley said; “He had a really good run the last day. He is a decent horse and Paul (Power) said he won handily even after missing the third-last. He will go to the track now if he is not sold. There are five in the syndicate and that is the second winner they have had and are all locals.”