Optional Mix jumps the last under Jordan Gainford© Photo Healy Racing
Optional Mix made all to take the opener at Clonmel this afternoon, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Maiden Hurdle.
The winner of a point-to-point at Fairyhouse in April when trained by Ian Donoghue, the Carlotamix bay had been knocking on the door since switching to the track.
Third over fences at Tramore earlier this month, she was sent off a 4/1 chance this afternoon with Jordan Gainford in the saddle for owner Christina Hughes.
Not fluent five out, the Eoin Doyle trained victor was pressed before the second last, but found more when ridden on the run-in, going on to prevail by half a length. Downtown Queen ran a fine race to finish second at 33/1 under Darragh O'Keeffe for Henry de Bromhead, while Motown Maggie (11/8f) was another half a length back in third.
"That was badly wanted as I've had more seconds and thirds," Doyle remarked.
"She had experience from the summer and was placed a good few times. We ran her over fences the last day when she was a bit novicey but I thought she ran well enough.
"I think the bit of soft ground has helped her and she jumps well enough. She just needs to relax a bit because she is always on her nerves but in fairness Jordan got the fractions right and she stayed at it well.
"We're happy to get the win and there is no real plan for her.
"We have a good few in for the winter and while it was frustrating with placed horses recently, at least they are running well."
Additional reporting by Thomas Weekes