Bolger's a big winner
Oylegate man Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning were the big winners at Limerick on Saturday when taking the Listed Martin Molony Stakes with the Godolphin-owned four-year-old Answered.
The well-supported odds-on favourite raced to a five and a half-length success and it would be no surprise to see him step up to Group company.
There was joy at Kilbeggan on Friday for high-flying Luke Dempsey who won the opening two-mile, three-furlong maiden hurdle on Illtakeitfromhere who is trained by Davidstown's Paul Nolan.
Bookmakers at Tipperary were on the receiving end of quite a hiding as all seven favourites were successful on Thursday evening. Clonroche's Aidan O'Brien and son Joseph shared a double when taking both maidens on the card with Washington DC and King Of Aragon.
Killenagh's Colm Murphy had a winner at Fairyhouse on Wednesday when Cara's Oscar was a third 9/4 favourite to win on the card as he landed the two-mile, five-furlong beginners' chase under Robbie Power.
The waiting is over as Punchestown 2015 kicks off today with three Grade 1 races, including the BoyleSports Champion Chase (5.30). Vautour may have been an eleventh hour withdrawal but Willie Mullins is still responsible for three of the ten runners and Ruby Walsh will be on board Champagne Fever who proved a disappointment at Aintree when no match for Don Cossack.
Mullins also runs Twinlight and Felix Yonger who were both successful on their most recent starts. Shark Hanlon will be hoping that Hidden Cyclone can land a first-ever Grade 1 and few can begrudge him a success at the top level after so many fine efforts in defeats.
All eyes will be on Douvan in the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle (4.20) as the impressive Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner bids to enhance his reputation. Sizing John, who finished third to him at Cheltenham, looks his primary danger.
There is another Cheltenham festival winner in action in the Growise Champion Novice Chase (6.40) as RSA Chase hero Don Poli is the star attraction. He has never been beaten over fences and takes on stablemate Valseur Lido as well as the Noel Meade pair, Apache Stronghold and Wounded Warrior. The sole British representative in the five-runner field is the Rebecca Curtis-trained Irish Cavalier.
The superb seven-race card at Punchestown begins at 3.40 p.m. and the going is Good to Yielding on the hurdle and chase course and good, good to firm in places on the cross country course.
Racing takes place at the following Irish racetracks over the coming week: Punchestown, today (first race 3.40 p.m.); Punchestown, Wednesday, April 29 (first race 3.40 p.m.); Punchestown, Thursday, April 30 (first race 3.40 p.m.); Punchestown, Friday, May 1 (first race 3.40 p.m.); Punchestown, Saturday, May 2 (first race 3.40 p.m.), and Sligo, Sunday, May 3 (first race 3.40 p.m.).