Westerner Sires Maiden Hurdle Double
Willie Mullins’ charge made all under Brian Hayes and was ridden when challenged approaching the final flight. Keeping on well on the run-in, he led by seven lengths on the line, with another 14 lengths back to the third horse.
It marked a third career win for Western Diego, who sold for £125,000 following his debut point-to-point win for Mark Scallan. The Sean Osborne-bred bay subsequently carried the Clipper Logistics silks to an easy win on rules debut.
Fellow point-to-point winner Now Is The Hour (7g Westerner – Keyaza, by Azamour) gained his first success under rules in the very next race, a maiden hurdle over two and a half miles.
The Gavin Cromwell-trained bay was sent off favourite under Sean Flanagan and raced prominently throughout, improving to lead with four to jump. Pushed clear before the final flight, he was eased on the run-in to win by six and a half lengths.
Speaking after the race, assistant trainer Garvan Donnelly said, “He deserved that. He'll be better over fences, hopefully he'll progress again.”
Now Is The Hour gained his first career win for Derek O’Connor, for whom he drew clear on debut at Cragmore. The son of Westerner was bred by Tom Treacy.