Rachael Blackmore completed a double at Roscommon on Tuesday evening to move six winners clear at the head of the jockeys’ championship as the former champion conditional scored with Amschel and I Keano.
Blackmore has hit a real purple patch in recent weeks and was seen at her strongest aboard Amschel (6-1), who landed the Connolly’s Red Mills Rated Novice Hurdle.
Winning trainer John O’Shea said “I thought he was beaten jumping the second-last after making that mistake, but he’s a horse that finds loads off the bridle.
“We were a bit nervous when we went out and saw that he had drifted in price because I thought he’d be favourite.
“He’s a horse with a big future and for a four-year-old to beat those kind of horses over that trip, I think he’s a horse with a bright future.”
He added: “He’ll go on to Galway now, and as I’ve said before he’s capable of winning one of those staying Flat maidens.”
An hour and a half later Blackmore completed her double as I Keano took the Roscommon Racecourse Handicap Hurdle, for staunch ally Denise O’Shea.
Blackmore is the first woman to ever lead a senior Irish jockeys’ championship at this early stage and the win saw her increase her advantage over Danny Mullins (20-14).
O’Shea said of her 12-1 chance: “He had a great run for us the first day, but then ran in and out but was just very green. Rachael got back on him today and he wanted the trip and she gave him a cracking ride. We’re very lucky to have her.
“He’s definitely a horse we like and he’ll tip away in hurdles, but his future is over fences. It makes the long journey up a bit shorter!”
The JP McManus-owned, Mouse Morris-trained Spring Watch (5-2 favourite) was completing a double of his own in the Larry O’Farrell Memorial Handicap Hurdle, scoring consecutive wins under jockey Donie McInernary.
Morris said: “He just missed out the last two and drifted over a bit on the run-in, but he won well enough at the end.
“He’s not the most straightforward to train. They’ve done a great job with the ground here, but it’s probably quick enough for him.”
Champion trainer Willie Mullins and rising amateur star Jody Townend, sister to Paul Townend, were on the mark in the EBF Mares Ladies Bumper with 7-2 chance Supreme Trix, who made a winning debut, despite wandering around in the closing stages.