On a crisp cold day the going was good to soft.
The 2 most impressive winners wereArrienzio (9 Black Minstrel) who won the Open very easily (a race in which the favourite Flashy Lad picked up an injury that will probably put an end to his racing days), and in the 5 year old maiden Shane Donohue's Gothic Lord outclassed the rest with a dominant performance. This was Gothic Lord's second run in 6 days, as he was bang in contention when falling upsides eventual winner Merlo at Castletown Geoghegan the previous Sunday. Gothic Lord is bound to succeed on the racecourse proper. Results
Race2--5yr Mares & Geldings
Race3--Open (no pens)
Race4--6/7 Mares Maiden
Race5--6 yr Geldings Maiden
Race6--8 yr Mares & Geldings Maiden
The going was heavy.
There were 6 contests scheduled but with the first dividing, we got 7 races.
Race1--5 year old Geldings Maiden Div 1
Michael Hourigan'sTobair Padraigh (Cashel Court) who was second on its debut a fortnight previous in a modest event at Askeaton went to post the surprising 6/4 favourite, 4/1 bar.
Liam Cashman introducedDantes Promise here. This Phardante 1/2 brother to Strong Promise, was up front when he took a soft fall at the 5th fence. Going out onto the final circuit Over Anxious,Jordans Lad and Noble Buck led a tightly grouped field ahead of Tobair Padraigh, Valleymore and Ask Henry. Going away from the second last the latter 3 were in trouble. But on the turn to the final fence Over Anxious swerved to his left and ducked out, this probably distracted Noble Buck who fell at the last when left in the lead, and in turn he brought down Jordans Lad who was just behind him. The upshot of all this drama was that Tobair Padraigh, Valleymore and Ask Henry, were left to fight it out on the long run in, with Ask Henry staying on best of all, with Liam Burke stablemate Valleymore just holding Tobair Padraigh for second.
Ask Henrywould definitely not have won but for the incidents around the final fence, but this Jolly Jake 1/2 brother to Valley Henry stuck to his task well on the run in and is open to improvement, but I think on this performance he will be a long way short of the quality of his 1/2 brother.
The secondValleymore another son of Jolly Jake looked nothing special and should collect an ordinary maiden in time, maybe one to avoid next time. The favourite Tobair Padraigh looked distinctly modest on this run, but he does jump very well and that will stand to him.
Over Anxious who I discussed after his debut at Dromahane(1/1/2001), again showed his wayward tendencies, but he would have won but for his antics, and there is no doubt that this Tom Costello trained close relation to Into The Red will make a more than decent racecourse chaser in time. In the interim he should temperament permitting win his maiden at Wexford in a fortnight, his next expected port of call.
John Queally's newcomer Noble Buck (Buckskin) showed plenty on his debut and cannot be blamed for his last fence fall as Over Anxious definitely unnerved him. Again a maiden success looks a formality for Noble Buck, and the chances of a successful racecourse career looks good, a bumper may fall his way.
Jordan's Ladwould have been placed 2nd at worse but for being brought down at the last. This Wexford trained son of Camden Town had fallen early on his debut at Tinahely(14/1/2001), but looked to enjoy the testing conditions here and with improvement may collect a maiden on his local circuit.
2 others that hinted at ability were the debutantsCoonogue(Jurado) from Padge Berry's team and Jimmy Mangan's Dantes Dozen (Husyan) who were both pulled up.
Race1--5 year old Geldings Maiden Div 2.
3 newcomers Beef Or Salmon(Cajetano from M Hourigans), Lord N Master(Lord Americo) and River Paradise(John French) led the field on the first circuit.
Beechgrove Gale(Toulon) was in mid division, but looking ill at ease on the heavy ground. At halfway the field were well grouped, but soon after Jimmy Mangan'sAlpha Eight(Alphabetim) fell at the 10th. At the second last Beechbrook Gale came under pressure, and Beef Or Salmon and River Paradise went clear on the way to the last. Here the Hourigan horse Beef Or Salmon fell leaving River Paradise clear and he won a shade cosily from the strong finishing 2nd Cashman newcomer Euro Alert (Eurobus), with Beechgrove Gale a one paced 3rd.
The winnerRiver Paradise is a giant of a horse and looking at him in the parade ring he looked as green as grass. A cheap purchase for £2,500 in August, this Finbarr Sheehy trained newcomer produced a staying performance here, but I remember many moons ago commentating when Mr Mulligan won its point to point at Nenagh, and River Paradise has many of the qualities I would associate with Mr Mulligan. Given normal luck and the patience of a top handler this horse could prove himself right out of the top drawer.
The runner upEuro Alert stayed on from a long way off the pace to get second but he looks a small type, possible for Uk gaff tracks under light weights.
Beechbrook Gale will prove more effective on better ground and should atone shortly.Beef Or Salmon looks no worldbeater but should win a maiden on the Limerick circuit.
Of the othersPassing Thyne was not knocked about but on this run it would be difficult to gauge his ability. The Liam Burke trained newcomer Fowler (Shardari) running in the Paul Barber colours showed little, but the Aiden Kennedy trained debutant Lord N Master showed up well until dropping out on the final circuit. Lord N Master is a fine strapping son of Lord Americo who when he strengthens up a little should be a solid staying 3 mile chaser.
Race2--5/6 Mares Maiden
18 runners. Dromahane runner up
Ardkilly Angel(5 Yashgan) (who was making her pointing debut,but was down the field in 2 bumpers) set a strong pace and had a 10 length lead going out onto the final circuit, Lady Ardmore was giving chase but she fell at the 4th last and brought down 3 other pursuers including Spice Rose who was travelling well. The Ould Boreen avoided the melee at the 4th last and gave chase to Ardkilly Angel. The favourite got on terms on the long run in and went on to score by 5 lengths from Misty Native(6 Be My Native) who deprived Ardkilly Angel of second.
Spice Roseshould make up for her bad luck here in the coming weeks.
Race3--Winner Of 2
Aibitir(6 Alphabetim) is progressing well, clearly enjoying the more testing conditions here as compared with Killeagh last week, his jumping needs tidying up, but more wins await.
Race4--Confined Hunt Race
Rian Bo Padraig set a searching gallop with Sir Mark Brunel chasing. At the 3rd last That Not Funny was out of contention after a series of mistakes. The other pair had a terrific duel with Tony Costello putting Sir Mark Brunel's head in front on the line.He will have to improve to win another race, the runner up Rian Bo Padraig who jumped solidly may just win a weak point, maybe not, time will tell.
False Tailis now qualified for the Cheltenham Foxhunters.He definitely has an engine but on this performance and his last one at Aghabullogue, his jumping is suspect and will find him out at the top level.
Race6--7 year old Geldings Maiden
Race 1 Geldings Maiden 5yr. Div 2
Race 2 Mares Maiden 5/6 yrs.
Race 3 Winners of Two.
Race 4 Confined Maiden 5yr+.
Race 5 Open Lightweight
Race 6 Geldings Maiden 7 yr only.
JT McNamara followed his treble last week with another here, where 2 divides resulted in an eight race card.
Feature of the day was the victory ofLucky Town who fought off the persistent challenge of the mare Instant Queen(8 Executive Perk). This was Lucky Town's first point run in over 5 years, future plans are fluid, but a possible tilt at the Aintree Foxhunters could be on the card. I will know more when I speak to trainer Enda Bolger during the week. Instant Queen arguably the best pointing mare of last season looks to have retained her ability and can certainly win open events and possibly even a hunters chase.
JT also scored onThe Arches(6 Petoski) who outbattled Killeagh runner up Ariann Sound and JT collected on his uncle Andrew's Native Tipp(7 Be My Native).
Brian Moran a nephew of Michael Hourigan also had a treble scoring on the exposed Muskerry Express(11 Torenaga) and Samac(5 Le Moss). In the opening winner of one Moran collected for the second time this season onLord Reynella(6 Lord Americo). This impressive Askeaton winner handled the step up in company well and clearly is a good staying type in testing conditions.
Brian Harding's younger brother Richie had his first winner on the mare Coravella(7 Yashgan).
The best finish of the day was in the 5 year old geldings race where the Flavin trainedAris Agus Aris (Aristocracy) just got the better of Back On Schedule. These two went at it hammer and tongs for the final mile and when they get over their exertions a bright future for both lies in store.
Incidentally 'Aris Agus Aris' is the Gaelic for 'Again And Again'.Results
Race 2 Geldings Maiden 5 yr only.
Race 3 Geldings Maiden 7 yr + Div 1.
Race 3 Geldings Maiden 7 yr + Div 2.
(1) Native Tipp ( JT McNamara)
(2) Big Boy Sid
(3) Goumane Hill
Race 5 Mares Maiden 5yr + Div 2
Race 6 Geldings Maiden 6yr only.