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Magical Zoe swoops late to claim Grade 3 for Heskin and De Bromhead


Magical Zoe maintained her unbeaten record when coming with a strong late run under Adrian Heskin to land the Grade 3 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Feathard Lady Mares Novice Hurdle at Down Royal.

A bumper winner for previous trainer Barry Fitzgerald at Cork in March, the daughter of Shantou made a winning hurdling/stable debut for Henry De Bromhead at Wexford in September.

However, the four-year-old faced a much stiffer test here, taking on her elders on just her second start over hurdles.

A moderate third jumping the final flight, connections would have been delighted having secured black type but as Nikini and The Model Kingdom began to weaken after a sustained battle, Heskin closed the gap quickly, before surging ahead.

Adrian Heskin said: "Ah she did definitely (find generously). That was a fair performance, she is still relatively green.

"She went around on the bridle in Wexford first time out and she'll really learn from the job there. She travelled a little bit too well early and she came home really strong. She certainly has a lot of ability.

"I rode her in a schooling race in Tipperary a few weeks ago and I was quite pleased with her on the day but Henry wasn't overly impressed with her, so he got her home and got her pin perfect for today. He said to drop her in and get her to settle and come home, and anything we can pick up will be a bonus. She picked up the lot, so it was great. I was delighted to come over.

"It is fantastic for the two lads here that own her - Patrick and Scott Bryceland - they sponsor me, but more than that they are great friends. They are great people for the game.

"We were all aware that it was a learning curve with her. To be fair, these are great friends of mine and I'd go to the moon to ride for them."

Paddy Power cut Magical Zoe to 8/1(from 20/1) for the Mares Novices Hurdle

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