Doubles for Meade and Elliott as Mullins has four tops

In a world less ordinary, any semblance of what once passed for normality has to be clung to and cherished. So to that end, racing going ahead in Leopardstown and Limerick going ahead was absolutely treasured. Once that was saved, though, things went very much along usual lines.

In that, between both meetings Willie Mullins chalked up four winners, while the Co Meath duo, Gordon Elliott and Noel Meade bagged a brace apiece. Now consider that the top two trainers in the country also had well fancied representatives turned over in big races and it games you some indication of the strength in depth both establishments.

Zanahiyr clears the last at Leopardstown

Crack juvenile hurdler Zanahiyr got Elliott on the board for the day when doing nothing to dissuade the faith of those who have backed Noel Moran’s steed into favouritism for the Triumph Hurdle already in taking the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle in autopilot.

Mullins, however, topped the bill yet again – even with Asterion Forlonge coming a cropper in Limerick – by still garnering a four-timer courtesy of Shadow Rider and Colreevy at Limerick – where Colreevy also scored following a protracted battle with Pencilfulloflead in a race which encapsulated the pecking order National Hunt scene in Ireland for the best part of the last decade – Gordon running Willie close but just unable to get by.

What was unusual, though, was seeing winers out of Closutton going off 16/1 (Dysart Diamond) and 8/1 (Franco Du Port) respectively. In terms of longest priced victors of the day, mind you, that prize goes jointly to Sam Curling and Padraig Roche, both of whom were responsible for 40/1 boilovers.

Meanwhile, Noel Meade delivered further proof that the Tu Va operation is still very much a force to be reckoned with, firstly as Diol Ker, back over hurdles at the insistance of Eddie O’Leary, proved gutsy in providing Michael Stenson with his first winner for his boss.

Then, one of the other brilliant young riders attached to the yard, Pat Taaffe, registered what, to my mind, was the finest victory of his fledgling career to date when galvinising Harry Alonso in the trainer’s own green and gold silks, with Jamie Codd hot on his tail all the way to the line.

Now all we need is for the weather to play ball and the best part of Christmas can proceed as planned. It has a chance, because the weather’s one thing Tony Holohan can’t dictate about!

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