14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Tarla sparkles on fencing bowHeadlines

Tarla made a sparkling fencing debut when she was thrown in at the deep end for the Grade Three TA Morris Memorial Mares Chase at Clonmel.

In receipt of weight from nearly all of her rivals, Ruby Walsh decided not to hang about on Willie Mullins' six-year-old, who was sent off the 11-8 favourite on the back of some smart hurdles form and jumped like an old hand.

Main market rival Knockfierna was badly hampered by the fall of Ros Brin half a mile out, but she would have had her work cut out in any case as Tarla defeated Our Girl Salley by eight lengths without coming off the bridle.

Mullins said: "She was very good and she had looked a natural at home. When she won over hurdles at Punchestown it looked as though fences would be no problem. We schooled her then and she looked as good as she was out there.

"She is very quick, even when she was a little wrong at a fence. We'll mix it between hurdles and fences now. There is a bit more prize-money over fences.

"Trying to keep her sound will be the hard thing. She was off the track for two years, so the worry is to see if she's sound in the morning. The Grade One at Punchestown is her end-of-season target."

Oliver McKiernan sprung a surprise when Whatuthink landed the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan on Sunday and the same colours were back in the winner's enclosure when Quietly Fancied took the Clonmel Oil Service Staion Handicap Hurdle.

Ruby Walsh was always prominent on the eight-year-old (11-2), who shook off several challengers and ran on strongly when tackled by Harold's Cross at the final flight to win by half a length.

McKiernan said: "We took the blinkers off him and it seemed to help. He was a bit disappointing with them on him the last day. He'll have one more hurdle run before Christmas, when he'll probably run at Leopardstown. He's a horse that's had leg trouble so we won't be rushing him too much."

The absence of Lord Of Lords appeared to have gifted the INH Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle to 1-4 favourite The Paparrazi Kid, but Dushybeag (7-1) was sent into a big lead by Adrian Heskin and Michael Hourigan's five-year-old kept on to win by 21 lengths.

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