/ Racing

Flaxen shows Flare for Leopardstown 3-year-old maiden hurdle win

Updated: Thursday, 27 Dec 2012 16:35 | Comments

Flaxen Flare jumps the last to take victory in the opening race of day 2 at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival
Flaxen Flare jumps the last to take victory in the opening race of day 2 at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival

Gordon Elliott's Flaxen Flare made a winning start to his jumping career with a smart display in the Paddy Power On Your Mobile 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Last seen winning on the Flat at Nottingham in October, when trained by Andrew Balding, the three-year-old was an 11-1 shot for what looked a warm race on paper.

Hot favourite Diplomat moved smoothly rounding the home turn, but fluffed his lines at the final flight and Flaxen Flare quickened up best on the flat.

Davy Condon's mount came home two and a quarter lengths ahead of outsider Ibsen, with Diplomat well held.

Call Me Bubbles was the disappointment of the race.

Elliott said: "We always thought he was nice and he beat Diplomat in a schooling race at Fairyhouse.

"It's hard to really fancy one in these three-year-old hurdle races as they can be a bit rough and ready.

"We have been quite lucky with three-year-old hurdlers. He is probably not as fast as Shadow Catcher but he might keep going a bit better."

Supporters of odds-on favourite Mumbo Jumbo were made to sweat before he eventually got on top close home to win the Paddy Power Maiden Hurdle.

The Margaret Mullins-trained dual bumper winner was a 4-6 favourite having been narrowly beaten on his hurdling bow at Listowel in September and was sent straight into the lead by the trainer's son, Danny Mullins.

He led until the home turn, when he was passed by Celtic Cailin, but Mullins appeared happy to bide his time.

It almost backfired at the final flight as the smooth-travelling Mumbo Jumbo got in tight, which handed his rival the initiative.

But Mumbo Jumbo picked up for pressure on the run-in and was good value for his length-and-a-half victory.

The winning trainer said: "He was just beaten in Listowel and Barry (Connell, owner) wanted to come back here with him.

"He is a nice horse and it has worked out well.

"We will find a winners-of-one race for him now."

The mother and son combination went on to complete a double as 12-1 shot Cairdin made every yard of the running in the Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle.

Returning to the smaller obstacles following a stint over fences, the six-year-old was fitted with blinkers for the first time and galloped along merrily at the head of affairs.

The challengers were queuing up to have a pop at him rounding the home turn, but Cairdin then kicked clear and skipped over the final flight to seal a four-and-a-quarter-length verdict over Forty Foot Tom.

Margaret Mullins said: "I'm delighted with the horse. We put the blinkers on him today as he just looks around a bit and it's great that it came right for him.

"It's great for Danny too, it's great to have your own doing it! I don't give him instructions, I just leave it to him."

Tony McCoy guided 5-1 favourite Colbert Station to a clear-cut victory in the Paddy Power Chase.

With over €100,000 on offer to the winner, the three-mile handicap was unsurprisingly fiercely competitive, but Colbert Station won as he liked.

Trained by Ted Walsh, the dual course winner had all of his rivals cooked rounding the home turn and jumped the last well to seal a five-and-a-half-length win over the staying-on Romanesco.

McCoy said: "I got a very good ride off him. He travelled very well and jumped very well.

"I was worried that I was in front a little bit soon because Ted was telling me not to try and get him in a battle, but he actually travelled too well thorough the race and when I went on with him two out, I was trying to get him to relax.

"It's great to ride a winner for Ted but this must go down to Frank (Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus). We had seven in the race and Frank was fairly adamant that I ride this horse, as adamant as Frank gets.

"I know that obviously I owe this to Ted but also to Frank, as he put me on the right one.

"It's great to ride a winner for the Walshs. I told Ruby's mother that I wanted to see a picture of me above the fireplace and not him!"

Walsh said: "He jumped well, he travelled well, he's done everything right and Tony gave him a lovely ride.

"I suppose he looked a winner from a long way out. I had doubts about whether he'd stay or not and I thought from the back of the last that he was running a little bit on empty but he kept going really well.

"They went a ferocious gallop up front and he jumped his way into it. For a horse having his fifth run over fences, he never put a foot astray.

"It's a great day for me. I've known the McManus's all my life but I've known Tony since he was about 12 years of age.

"He (Colbert Station) is by Witness Box, who has been a great sire and this is a fine horse by him. Maybe the best might be yet to come."

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