By Dan Walsh
The prestigious Ladies Cup over the famous Punchestown Banks Course was won by Singing Banjo (14/1) who initiated a double for Tinahely trainer Philip Rothwell on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival today (Tuesday).
Owned by John Walsh, Ballyday, Gorey, and ridden by his son, Barry Walsh, Singing Banjo battled to the finish line with Vital Island and prevailed by one and one-quarter length. This was a first winner on the track for Barry who has seven career point-to-point winners to his credit.
Rothwell said afterwards; “It is great for the Walsh family. He comes over a few weeks before he runs and we ran him in a couple of hunter chases to have him ready for today. It is a huge family thing for the Walshes and it is all about them more so than me.
“Barry’s (winning jockey) brother Aaron rode a couple for me around the banks here and we were second a couple of times,” he added.
It was an eventful race as the track became slippery as light rain fell on fast ground, with two horses slipping-up and another unseating jockey on bends.
Rothwell’s first winner of the day came in the opening novice handicap hurdle with the fast finishing Cousin Harry, (25/1), who pipped the 5/1 favourite Light Brigade by a neck with Meath jockey Paddy O’Hanlon up.
Speaking afterwards the winning trainer said; “Michael Carthy heads up the Roc Racing (owners) syndicate and every horse they’ve had with me has won. This fella (Cousin Harry) has been great this year. I’m absolutely thrilled.”
The Fairwood Stables had three runners today but do not have a huge number for the rest of the week.