Two meetings took place this weekend , the originally scheduled meet at Carrigtwohill, and last week's postponed Ballon fixture. I was at Carrigtwohill.Sunday 4th February Carrigtwohill
The going was soft and conditions were very wet due to a stream of persistent rain falling throughout Sunday morning, this had a bearing on racing as the afternoon progressed.
There was 6 contests, no divides.Race 1--Confined Hunt Maiden (5 years +)
They sent off Kilmoney Prince (5 Muharib) and Appel Island (7 m Duky) the 5/2 joint favourites.
This race was fun at a fast pace considering the conditions and the 2 market principals were in the van turning for home with newcomer The Shakey Man (6 Husyan) also being produced on the scene by Davy Russell. The 3 fought it out as they raced to the last. However The Shakey Man produced a telling turn of foot to accelerate away for a stylish debut win. Appel Island held off Kilmoney Prince in the scrap for 2nd.
It is always hard to gauge a horse on one performance but it will be a surprise if we don't hear more of The Shakey Man particularly on the racecourse proper.
As for the other 16 runners, they will all be looking for weak events in the hope(and in some cases forlorn hope) of winning a race.Race 2--Winner Of One ( maidens excluded)
Again there was a strong pace on here with a couple of the outsiders Here We Go Barney and Carrig House setting it followed by Splash And Dash, Pagermar Montys Surprise and Always On The Line, with Forest Thyne held up at the rear.
After jumping the 3rd last as they travelled to the top bend Carrig House was chased by Pagermar, Splash and Dash, an improving Forest Thyne and Montys Surprise who looked to be weakening. After jumping the second last Eoin O Grady committed on Splash And Dash going 3 lengths clear with The fav Forest Thyne chasing. At the last there was little between them, but Forest Thyne just prevailed by a neck under a strong drive by Damien Murphy from Splash And Dash with a 6 length gap to Pagermar who just held 3rd from the rallying Montys Surprise.
The winner should be good enough to win his maximum of 4 points this season.
The less experienced runner up Splash And Dash(6 Arcane) was stepping up here on his recent Killeagh maiden win, and with a little further improvement may collect a winners race, but without improvement he wouldn't.
The eyecatcher here was Montys Surprise(7 Montelimar) a winner of a maiden at Punchestown last February. Tony Costello gave him the kid glove treatment and he looks a moral to collect in similar company next time out.
During the second race one horse slipped on a dangerous gap in the home straight and the jockeys expressed their concern as to the safety of the track.
After consultation and remedial work it was decided to bypass the first fence in the homestraight for the remainder of the fixture. The result of this was the withdrawal of a number of 'talking horses' from the 5 year old maiden, and also that the remaining races consisted of just 12 fences.Race 3--5 year old Geldings Maiden (Powers Qualifier)
This race was won last year by Valley Henry who defeated Maximus.
The trainer of Valley Henry on that occasion Liam Burke supplied the 2 market fancies, Lincam(5 Broken Hearted) who had shaped promisingly twice last year,the 6/4 fav, and the Paul Barber owned Fowler (5 Shardari) 5/2 who had shown little on its debut last week at Dungarvan.
The race developed into a match between the pair with the Eoin Gallagher ridden Fowler holding a slender lead as they turned in on the long run to the last, but he had no answer when Davy Russell pushed the button on Lincam and this one met the last spot on to win by a cosy 5 lengths.
The winner will probably need better ground but cannot be faulted on this performance. The runner up Fowler showed an awful lot more here and looks the type to continue improving, a maiden will no doubt fall his way and of the 2 Burke trained horses could prove the better long term bet.Race 4--Open (no penalties)
Ex track winner Iverks Pride (10 Roselier 1/2 brother to Young Devereux) set a modest pace tracked by the market leaders. Leaving the backstraight Friars Island was the first to crack, as Thertisforya challenged Iverks Pride with Davy Russell poised in behind on Borderline Breeze. The 3 were in line as they raced to the last, but Noel Boggan got a terrific jump from Iverks Pride and stole a length on his rivals and much to the delight of the bookies this 10/1 chance held on by 1/2 length from Borderline Breeze with a similar distance to Theretisforya in 3rd.
The lack of pace may have lead to a false result, and given a true run race in the future Theretisforya can atone.Race 5--5 year old Mares Maiden
The winner has ability but may find life tough in winners events. The runner up Susie Don acquitted herself well and can atone, the only worry being that both winner and runner up had a hard race and will need time to recuperate.
A mile back in third was the well bred Carrig Ard(Good Thyne) who may be capable of better.Race 6--6 year old Geldings Maiden
They went a real good clip here with Davy Russell hugging the rail all the way on Millstream Court chased by Father D and Supreme Boss.
Jumping the 2nd last(original 3rd last) 7 were covered by 8 lengths, Millstream Court leading Supreme Boss, Father D, Marino West, Notabadskin, Alpha Gold and Finecatch. The latter pair were the first to weaken and with 2 furlongs to race the long time leaders Millstream Court and Supreme Boss injected more pace and had the contest to themselves as they approached the last. Supreme Boss was a little clumsy, and surrendered the initiative to Millstream Court who collected under yet another strong polished ride from Davy Russell giving him a treble for the afternoon.
As stated before Millstream Court is a sound jumper who would do well in 2 and 1/2 mile UK handicaps. The well regarded runner up Supreme Boss also looks a decent sort but is still a little green in the jumping department.
Placed horses Marino West (3rd) will win a moderate maiden and Notabadskin(4th) was not knocked about on unsuitable ground and can atone on the Leinster circuit. Down the field Alpha Gold hinted at ability, but Father D(5th) found the company too hot.Results
The going for this rescheduled meeting was soft.
There was 6 events on the card but with 4 divides, 10 races took place.
The opening race was a Ladies open where Tinahely winner Orlando Magic (7 Moscow Society) just got the better of former racecourse winner Celio.
The 6 year old maidens produced the quality performances of the afternoon.
In the first division Killowenly Boy (6 Buckskin) routed the hotpot Oscar Performance(Roselier 1/2 brother to Young Devereux), with Clawick Connection(Torus) shaping well in 3rd. Killowenly Boy had shown little in 4 runs last year but if this run is to be believed he is a transformed character. Oscar Performance may have found the run coming too soon after Killeagh, while Clawick Connection who was placed in 3 of his 4 runs last year will strip an awful lot fitter next time.
In the second division of this race Tony Martin saddled his first point winner of 2001 when debutant Butsys Honour accounted for John Quinn's Baileys Of Cashel. This was a fair performance considering the runner up finished 8th in a bumper at the Punchestown festival last year.
Breezy River(6 Over The River) for the Berry's, and Owheredidigowrong won the 2 divisions of the 6 year old mares maiden.
A weak open was won by Glenahary Rose, and the mares open was divided as fitness appeared to count with 2001 winners Forgeside Express(6 Insan) a Tinahely winner, and Tribal Warrior (6 Muharib) a Castletown Geoghegan winner both successfully bridging the gap from maiden to open status . The former is a mare going places.
The concluding 7/8 geldings maiden also split Commanche Peak winning the first and Simon Lambert's Kilfeacle runner up Wilke Thorpe(7 Be My Native) scoring with plenty in hand in division 2.Results
Race 3--Mares Maiden 6 year old only.
(1) Breezy River (W Codd) Div 1.
(1) Owheredidigowrong Div 2.
Race 6--Geldings Maiden 7/8 only
(1) Commanche Peak (D Cullen) Div 1.
(1) Wilke Thorpe (J D Moore) Div 2.