Wins for Summerville Boy and Flame Bearer
A look back at Thurles’ action selection, where Flame Bearer and Summerville Boy both regained the winning thread.
Flamebearer spun in a fine round of jumping to regain the winning thread in the Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase in Thurles.
Representing Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning team Willie Mullins and Paul Townend, Flame Bearer was sent off as an 11/10 favorite for that third-tier affair despite suffering defeat in his last two starts.
He was no match for stablemate El Fabiolo – who was victorious at the Arkle on Tuesday – while opponent Indiana Jones put him back up to third place earlier in the month in the Flyingbolt Novice Chase at Navan.
This time around, however, receiving 7lbs from this rival, Flame Bearer made no mistakes and rode superbly for Townend before taking the lead and spinning home.
He galloped pretty clearly and grabbed the last one with a lot in hand to eventually come home as a 13-length winner over Upping The Anti, with Indiana Jones just fourth.
Paul Townend said: “I thought after he ran on the last day that he should call (in front) and he got into a better rhythm in jumping.
“He still needs to brush up a little bit, but he knows where his feet are and he’s happy to take it upon himself. He’s got a flaw in him but he’s warmed up to it quite well and turned around the form with Indiana Jones.”
Summerville boy rolled back the years as he won for the first time since 2020.
Summerville Boy, winner of the Tolworth and Supreme Novices’ Hurdles when coached by Tom George in 2018, had not struck a gold since his win at Aintree in November over two years ago.
420 days off the track before making his New Year’s Eve debut for Henry de Bromhead, Summerville Boy was last seen in late January, bringing home a distant second place finish in the Galmoy Hurdle to Teahupoo, eventual Stayers’ Hurdle runner-up.
Summerville Boy (4/1), sidelined for the season-ending hurdle, appeared to be up against Asterion Forlonge, who was having his first run since finishing seventh at the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Asterion Forlonge was sent off as a 10/11 favorite but his lack of fitness seemed to show when Rachael Blackmore went home on the lead Summerville Boy and the now 11-year-old went on strongly to win by four and a half lengths win.
Blackmore said: “He had done things well, had done well at school and hoped to get a day like that out of him. My boy is a lot fitter (than Asterion Forlonge) so he had that on his side and that was a help.”
Blackmore and De Bromhead enjoyed two Grade One winners at the Cheltenham Festival, with Envoi Allen claiming Thursday’s Ryanair Chase but honeysuckleVictory in the Mares’ Hurdle on Tuesday was probably the highlight of the week.
The two-time Champion Hurdle winner was eliminated in style with a fourth festival strike, and Blackmore was delighted to see the immensely popular runner bid farewell on a high.
She added: “It’s been an incredible week and Tuesday was a day I will never forget.
“That feeling of being at the top of the slide, all the way back in, all the way back into the winner’s enclosure, with the crowds of spectators all staring at them, was incredible.
“Every letter I get from kids mentions Honeysuckle so there’s a lot of people cheering for me and I’m happy for everyone we delivered on Tuesday. It doesn’t always happen in this sport, so it’s fantastic.
“I felt the pressure building up and you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel it, but it’s a class position to be in. She was really in a good mood and it’s a big thank you to the team and to Heinrich.”
Michael O’Sullivan rode Marine Nationale to supreme glory on Tuesday and he was again among the winners at Thurles ace Time for Rocco (4/1) raised the Dillon Quirke Foundation Mares Beginners Chase.
Routine excellence (12/1) landed the Jimmy Neville Memorial Handicap Chase while Lorna Fowler’s Top hill low (3/1) opened his account at Adare Manor Opportunity Maiden Hurdle.
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