Paul Townend puts on impressive display as Dolcita claims Clonmel Mares Chase

Getty Images

A field of nine runners went to post for the Listed contest, with Dolcita one of two runners for champion trainer Willie Mullins along with Cheltenham Festival heroine Elimay.

While both brought strong claims to the table, neither headed the market, with that honour going to Joseph O'Brien's 9-4 favourite Scarlet And Dove, who comprehensively beat both at Punchestown in April. It was a very different story six months on, however, with both Scarlet And Dove and Elimay unable to land a telling blow as Ballyshannon Rose put up a bold display from the front. Paul Townend conjured a late surge from 11-4 shot Dolcita, though, and she got up to score by half a length from the gallant runner-up. Mullins said: "It is always easier to ride the second string and Paul just sat out and left them at it. They probably went a bit fast in front, he came along to take what was going and got the major prize. "We went out hoping to get some prize money and didn't think we'd get it all with her, but she is improving. That'll be a big step up for her. "Elimay will come along fitness-wise and the long-term plan is to go back to Cheltenham." Gordon Elliott enjoyed a double on the card, with Jack Kennedy steering Landrake (9-2) to win the opening maiden hurdle while The Four Sixes (5-1) won the second in the hands of Davy Russell. Elliott's assistant, Lisa O'Neill, said: "Landrake has definitely improved for the jump in front of him and the step up in trip. He will appreciate further in time and went through the ground really well - Jack was happy he handles it. "The Four Sixes did it really nicely and Davy seemed really happy with him. He handled the ground really well and obviously it's his first time over hurdles." Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore combined to land the Clonmel Oil Service Station Handicap Hurdle with 4-1 shot Clifton Warrior. "I'm delighted with that. He just got lost in Listowel and something jumped into him and he came home sore. We found out he probably prefers that softer ground as well," said De Bromhead. "He is not a particularly big horse and we'll keep him going over hurdles for this season. I'll look for a soft ground, two-mile handicap hurdle somewhere next."

The article Paul Townend puts on impressive display as Dolcita claims Clonmel Mares Chase appeared first on Planetsport.com.