Madam masters rivals
Top Madam ran out a game winner of the Grade Three EBF Lough Construction Ltd. Mares Novice Hurdle at Down Royal.
Missunited was sent off the 8/13 favourite for the two-mile event after running up a string of four wins over the summer, including a defeat of Top Madam at Listowel in June.
That pair were happy to sit in second and third in the early stages of this event, though, as Dancin' Glory cut out the early pace but they both began to make their moves as the field turned for home.
Top Madam soon assumed control in the hands of Davy Condon as Dancin' Glory dropped away, although Missunited looked to be travelling particularly well down the outside.
Despite clattering the third-last obstacle, Top Madam (10/1) was not for being beaten and kept finding for pressure as Missunited tried her best down the outside.
She was a spent force as she flattened the last and while Thynetocatcher tried her best with a late lunge for glory, top weight Top Madam held on by a length for trainer Donal Coffey.
The winning trainer was not at the track but Top Madam's breeder Noel O'Neill, a son-in-law of Coffey's, said: "Donal can't be here as he got a kick from a horse but is OK.
"Top Madam is just a tough mare and takes a lot of work at home. She wants good ground and jumped better today.
"Her game in time will be chasing - she won her point to point as a four year old and was third in a Grade Three Hurdle on ground that was against her. She'll have a break now and will be back in throughout spring."
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