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Raz De Maree roars to Munster National win

Updated: Sunday, 14 Oct 2012 20:27 | Comments

Dessie Hughes' Raz De Maree could target the Troytown Chase at Navan next month
Dessie Hughes' Raz De Maree could target the Troytown Chase at Navan next month

Dessie Hughes claimed a first Ladbrokes Munster National as Raz De Maree claimed top honours in the Limerick feature.

Although there were a few casualties on the way round the three-mile test, there were still four horses in a line jumping the second-last fence in the home straight.

Raz De Maree (7-1) and Bryan Cooper began to assert soon after, however, and safely negotiated the final fence to seal a six-and-a-half-length victory in this valuable event.

The front-running Quietly Fancied rallied to deny joint-favourite Questions Answered the runner-up spot.

Hughes said: "That's my first time winning the race and it was my birthday during the week. We were hoping there would be a good three-mile chase in him as he stays so well.

"He's small, but he's a natural jumper. He got beaten in the Midlands National at Kilbeggan under a big weight and 10st 4lb suited him better.

"He ran ordinary in Galway on heavy ground. He couldn't go on it. He wouldn't have wanted the ground any worse. The Troytown is a possibility."

Down In Neworleans made a superb return to action in an eventful PricewaterhouseCoopers Chase.

The Mags Mullins-trained seven-year-old had been off the track for over 400 days and was sent off at 8-1 for this competitive Grade Three prize.

He was one of three horses still in with a chance of victory approaching two out but three quickly became two as hot favourite Knockfierna jinked to her right and went outside the wings of the obstacle.

Down In Neworleans and Rivage D'Or went to the final obstacle as one, but the former jumped it better under Danny Mullins and stayed on well to score by seven lengths.

Consistent mare Zuzka ran away with the Fergus OToole Memorial Novice Hurdle to give Ruby Walsh a double.

The Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old had won three of her previous seven starts and been placed on the other four occasions, but this Grade Three contest represented a jump in class.

The 7-2 chance was still hard on the bridle rounding the home turn and although Dara Tango appeared to be travelling equally as well, Zuzka left him for dead between the final two flights.

She took the final obstacle in her stride and came home with 11 lengths in hand.

Walsh said: "Zuzka surprised me. She travelled really well and jumped like a stag.

"The reason I picked her (over stablemate Letherbelucky) was she was by Flemensfirth and the other one was by Luso and I thought she would go better on the ground."

Walsh also struck on Mulleady (3-1) for Tony Martin in the opener.

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