Mark Walsh scores treble while Auvergnat gives JP McManus another Paddy Power Chase

Auvergnat jumping the last on his way to victory in the Paddy Power Chase. Credit: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Mark Walsh registered a treble on the second day of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival when claiming the opening three contests as JP McManus won another Paddy Power Chase with the success of Auvergnat.

Sir Erec, third to Stradavarius at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day last October, opened his account over timber with a hard-fought win over the Willie Mullins-trained French import Tiger Tap Tap in the opener, The Paddy Power ‘Only 365 Days Til Christmas’ 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle.

The 11-10f under Mark Walsh was promient throughout before Rugby Walsh on Tiger Tap Tap (5/2) came to challenge on his outside approaching the final hurdle. The pair pulled clear with Joseph O’Brien’s charge holding on by a neck from Tiger Tap Tap with Tony Martin’s Nibiru (33/1) a further eight lengths back in third.

Jockey Mark Walsh registered a quick double when following up on a spare ride, Paloma Blue (4/1), in the second, as Co. Waterford trainer Henry de Bromhead achieved a 1-2 when Moon Over Germany (5/2) finished second.

The successful rider then teamed up with English trainer Nicky Richards and racecourse specialist Simply Ned (16/1) when winning the first of the Grade 1 races on Thursday’s card, The Paddy’s Rewards Club’ Sugar Paddy’ Steeplechase over 2m 1f.

The 11-year-old son of Fruits Of Love, who won this race in the Stewards’ Room last year, came late to catch favourite Footpad (1/1f), and win by half a length with Ordinary World (25/1) another four and three quarter lengths back in third.

Auvergnat (28/1) gave owner JP McManus another Paddy Power Chase victory when comfortably taking the €200,000 contest for Donie McInerney and Enda Bolger, ahead of Joseph O’Brien’s Vieux Movan (33/1) who led throughout most of the race. Another McManus runner Fitzhenry (25/1) was third, ahead of Solomn Grundy (6/1).

The loudest cheer of the day greeted the return of Aramon (6/1) to the winner’s enclosure following the 6-year-old’s win in the Grade 1 Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle. The Supreme Racing Club-owned winner, with Ruby Walsh on board, had ten lengths to spare at the line over stable companion Sancta Simona (5/2) with Tintangle (16/1) in third.

Seven-pound claimer Seán O’Keffee won the Paddy Power ‘Enough Of Your Nonsense’ Handicap for Jessica Harrington with Jetez (11/1), while the concluding Paddy Power Games ‘One for the Road’ Flat Race went the way of Neptune (7/1) who reeled in long time leader All For Joy (4/1) to eventually win by seven-and-a-half lengths at the line.

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