Largy Hill's proven ability over three miles stood him in good stead for a step up in class in the Grade 3 BoyleSports Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle at Thurles.
An astute bit of placing by Stuart Edmunds saw him land his first winner in Ireland when Marsh Wren made all in the Listed novice chase in Thurles.
Pana To Milan (12/1) gave Luke Burke-Ott his first racecourse success when staying on strongly in the qualified riders' handicap chase at Thurles.
Rushmount played cat and mouse with his main market rivals before scooting away from them in the extended 2m7f maiden hurdle at Thurles.
Smallcraftwarning sprang a 40/1 surprise under Toni Quail in the ladies' handicap hurdle on Thurles' card.
I was abroad when the Dublin Racing Festival (DRF) took place at Leopardstown at the beginning of the month, but was delighted to hear that the opening day on the Saturday had attracted a bumper crowd of just over 20,000, a record for the event, with a significant portion of the audience travelling over from the UK.
Racing attendances in Ireland have been in steady decline for years, so it was fantastic news to see a flagship event like the DRF buck the trend and grow their numbers significantly.
My Racing StorySponsored By Tote
I'm from Clonmel, Co Tipperary and I don't come from a racing background as such. Growing up through school, I always had a strong interest in racing in general. My mum and dad brought my brother and I racing through our teenage years. My dad was a primary school teacher, but he always had a good business head and he went into on-course bookmaking in 1999. That gave my brother and I purpose and a reason to be going racing. I think when dad took out his licence I was about 13 or 14 and we went point-to-pointing all over the country. Dad continued teaching and grew the business. He invested quite a bit into racecourse pitches right around Ireland. It is my brother's business now and my dad works with him.
I wanted to go my own route. I was never a gambler as such, but I was always interested in broadcasting. I finished school and I went on and did a Degree in Marketing. I did that in what was then Waterford Institute of Technology. I then did the British Horseracing Authority's graduate programme which brought me to the betting firm Coral in England. I did my placement on the racing desk in Barking in east London. I did a summer with them and it was a great experience. I worked with some really knowledgeable people, including the likes of James Knight who is still there. I then saw an advert for TEAMtalk (BSkyB), an internet radio service that was syndicated out to bookmakers. Back to England I went, to Leeds, and I spent a year there getting a grounding in live broadcasting in a studio environment. I really enjoyed it and Tim Thornton, who is now at Sky Sports, was my boss at the time. It was an environment that you could make mistakes in as you weren't on camera and I don't think it was a huge audience, more recreational punters as such. You could get your grounding there, learn your craft and build your confidence.
Five forgotten Willie Mullins horses for Cheltenham
Emma Nagle unearths 5 Willie Mullins horses who may be flying under the radar for the Cheltenham Festival.