Morning Assembly looks the part at Punchestown

Pat Fahy’s Grade One-winning hurdler impresses over fences

Morning Assembly made an impressive debut over fences in the Ballymore Christmas Fair & Family Fun November Festival Beginners Chase at Punchestown.

Pat Fahy's Grade One-winning hurdler was given a positive ride from flag-fall by Ruby Walsh, who was deputising for he injured Davy Condon, and jumped well in the main, aside from a couple of slight mistakes.

The 2-1 favourite had Si C’Etait Vrai for company on most of the two-and-a-half-mile journey, but began to get his measure going to the second-last and made sure of victory when safely negotiating the final fence with a brave jump for a three-and-three-quarter-length success.

Operating and Barry Geraghty had just crept into it when departing five out.


Fahy said: “He only had one racecourse school and that was when he hacked around at Tipperary, so there should be plenty of improvement there.

“He’s always been a natural jumper and he’s a horse that’ll never let you down.

“Ruby said to me to make sure that we give him plenty of experience and he’ll definitely run somewhere before Christmas.

“I’ll sit down with the owner (Steve Parkin) and we’ll make a plan.

“Davy (Condon) schooled him at Tipperary so I’m sorry that he missed this but he’ll be back (broke his leg at Cork recently). Myself and Ruby do go back a long way anyway.”

Walsh said: “I love the way he jumped, he was very good when we got in close. He guessed at one or two but for a horse having only the seventh run of his life he has a very bright future.

“He’s a smashing horse with a really big future.”

Empire Of Dirt overcame a lengthy absence to get off the mark in the Follow Us On Facebook & Twitter Maiden Hurdle.

A costly purchase at 325,000 euro for the Gigginstown House Stud operation, the Colm Muprhy-trained six-year-old had seen the track just once, when fifth in a Fairyhouse bumper in January 2012.

But given plenty of time, the half-brother to Irish National fifth Panther Claw confirmed he could yet be a useful prospect in his own right when accounting for Cebuano by three and a quarter lengths in the hands of Davy Russell.

Murphy said of the 12-1 winner: “He has the pedigree to match (his price tag), we’ve always thought he was a nice horse and he ran very green in his bumper, which is nearly two years ago now I suppose.

“The manner in which he did it was nice and his pedigree suggests he will be better over further.

“Time will tell how good the race was, but you’d think he’ll improve plenty from it. He can only improve.

“I’d imagine he’ll stay over hurdles this year.”