IRISH eyes were smiling at Redcar today as jockey Robbie Downey notched up a double at the seaside track.
The young rider, from County Meath, scored twice for Thirsk trainer David Barron, aboard Frosted Lass and Venturous.
Downey, who started out on the pony racing circuit in Ireland, is trying to raise his profile as a freelance during his first full season in England.
"I came over to test the water towards the end of last season for a few weeks and then rode in India during the winter. It's going well but I'm just trying to get better known," he said.
Downey stayed cool to win the Join Racing TV Now Handicap Stakes aboard Frosted Lass, outstaying favourite Tomahawk Ridge. Frosted Lass, pictured, was ahead of Tomahawk Ridge when a solid third at Redcar last time and was better off at the weights.
Her trainer said: "She had a pull at the weights with the favourite so she should have been there or thereabouts, but you never know."
Frosted Lass’s owner, Anne Atkinson, decided to get involved in racing because husband, Digby, a farmer at Holmfirth, has horses with David Barron.
"I'm shaking after that - I could cry I'm so happy," she said.
Downey doubled up when Venturous swooped late to win the Watch Racing TV In Stunning HD Handicap Stakes.
Barron said: "It took us a while to work him out but he's come good now and we're getting on well. He's in the Dash at Epsom but he won't get in that at the weights, so we'll try and find somewhere for him."
The eight-race card started with a 28-1 surprise as Troubador, trained in County Durham by Michael Dods, outgunned favourite Insania to win the opening Racingtv.com EBF Novice Auction Stakes (Division One).
Steve Lowthian, who owns the horse in partnership with John Sagar, said: "He fell asleep in the stalls first time out but we thought he'd be better today and maybe run into a place."
After the big-priced winner in the first, favourite-backers were quickly back on track after the well-supported Rose of Kildare won Division 2 for Middleham maestro Mark Johnston and jockey PJ McDonald.
Assistant trainer Charlie Johnston said: "That was pleasing. She was very green first time at Brighton and had no chance from her draw at Chester. She was still green today so I think there's more to come."
Make A Wish, trained at Newmarket by Simon Crisford, ran out a game winner of the Pat and Les Holmes Celebration Fillies' Novice Stakes under Graham Lee.
Pat and Les, who came from Darlington, were regular visitors to Redcar and are remembered each year by their family sponsoring the race.
Apprentice Sebastian Woods was seen to good effect as La Sioux followed up last year's success in the Racing TV Straight Mile Fillies' Handicap Stakes for Malton trainer Richard Fahey.
James Fanshawe’s Kirtsenbosch looked a filly with a future after skating clear to win the Racing TV Profits Returned To Racing Median Auction Maiden Stakes under Daniel Muscutt.
The best finish was reserved for the last race as Agravain, trained at Malton by Tim Easterby and ridden by David Allan, outbattled Thomas Cubitt to win the Introducing Racing TV Handicap Stakes by a head.