ALL roads led to Aghabullogue on Sunday for the Muskerry Foxhounds meeting at Dromatimore, a venue that has staged racing since 1988, and where the Declan Queally-trained Rocky’s Howya maintained his unbeaten record in points this season by recording a fourth straight success under Chris O’Donovan in the open.

Rocky’s Howya (6/4 - 2/1), having his first start in open company, went to the front and he took the six-runner field along at a generous pace on the rain-softened ground with Silent Man and Russian Diamond initially his closest pursuers.


Sam Curling’s talented mare La Feline, winner of this race last season, came from the rear to give chase to the eventual winner from the fourth-last and she held every chance with Derek O’Connor on the descent from two out.

Rocky’s Howya had to be roused along briefly in front at this stage, but La Feline began to thread water on the turn into the home straight.

The winning son of Ask was showing no signs of stopping in front and he soon asserted as Le Feline was sensibly left alone before the last. Rocky’s Howya, while blundering here, duly returned with 24 lengths to spare over Le Feline while Heroes Of Renown acquitted himself well on his point debut by finishing a further 48 lengths adrift in third.

With winning owner Mrs Margaret Kiely and her husband David absent, Declan Queally junior remarked: “I wouldn’t rule out the Cheltenham Foxhunter if we get qualified. He’s a very tough horse that stays and he ideally likes better ground. We’ll see if we can find another open for him next month.”

James Hannon kept his supporters happy by partnering two winners, the Tallow amateur signing off by combining with long-standing ally Harry Kelly to collect the six-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden aboard My Reprieve (5/4 - 6/4 favourite).

Runner-up to Paul O’Flynn’s Quarry Tiepy on her previous start at Ballindenisk last month, My Reprieve was bounced out in front and she had Mamaker as her closest pursuer from the sixth fence. With Mamaker wilting before the last, it was then left to Sarah Jane to give chase.

Although not altogether fluent at the final fence, the winning half-sister to Evan Williams’ Welsh Grand National winner Secret Reprieve was in no mood to be denied in the closing stages as she accounted for Sarah Jane by two lengths in the silks of her handler’s Piltown, Co Kilkenny-based cousin Mrs Mary Dicker.

“She has been a shade unlucky. She had a good run in Ballindenisk the last day and she could now be sold,” said Kelly of the Ocovango-sired My Reprieve.

Hannon opened his account aboard the Donie Barry-trained Indian Louis in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden.

Front runners

On an excellent afternoon for front-runners, the previously twice-raced Indian Louis (5/2 - 3/1 co-favourite) was another to benefit from pace-setting tactics and he jumped soundly in front with the race concerning just him and the pursuing Georgie Burgess from four out.

The latter briefly held every chance after two out, but the winning son of Mahler was clearly in command approaching the last as he mastered the Brian Dunlevy-ridden Georgie Burgess to oblige by three and a half lengths in the colours of Sean Connors.

Barry, who also started off subsequent listed-placed hurdler Belle The Lioness in points last season, remarked: “This fellow is a nice type and he’s the first horse that Sean [Connors] has had with me. He’ll probably now go on to the sales. “

Galwegian Connors incidentally also raced Indian Louis’s dam Indian Fairy (by Indian Danehill) who was trained by Eoin Doyle to win two hurdles and two chases, and in the process she amassed over €55,000 in prize money earnings.

Alo’s tenacity wins the day

THE Liam Burke-trained Alo’s Vision (2/1 - 5/2 joint-favourite) showed that tenacity is her definite strong point by coming a second time with Mikey O’Connor to land the five and six-year-old mares’ maiden.

Alo’s Vision, having been always prominent, dropped back to third with two fences remaining but she stormed back into contention approaching the last and took command in the closing stages to eclipse Lady Corrib by a head in what was the closest finish of the afternoon.

Owner/breeder Mary Tynan Phelan recalled that Alo’s Vision dam Easter Saturday was ridden to victory by Colman Sweeney in a division of this race in 2006. Derek O’Connor meanwhile guided Alo’s Vision’s half-sister Easter In Paris to victory in the 2015 renewal of this event.

Four-horse handler Olivia Hegarty was all smiles following the facile success of ex-handicap hurdler Sir Rock (5/1 - 10/1), whom she also bred, on his points debut in the closing six-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden.

Well positioned

Sir Rock, rated 86 over flights having finished seventh in a Kilbeggan amateur riders maiden hurdle last June, was always well positioned with Darragh Allen and the own-brother to Olly Murphy’s 150-rated chaser Thunder Rock picked up the running before two out to dismiss Starlight Cato by four lengths.

It’s probable that Sir Rock, owned by Bartlemy-based Mrs Hegarty’s husband Thomas, will now be sent to for a date at the sales.

Another win for Ocana

LOUIS ARCHDEACON’S Another Ocana (5/2 - 11/4) supplemented his Dromahane adjacent hunts maiden success just nine days earlier by springing a mild surprise with Cal Shine in the three-runner winners of two.

Another Ocana, a former hurdler, moved closer in third spot when setting out on the final circuit as Heretoeternity still held the call from Dundaniel.

The winning son of Court Cave hit the front on the descent from two out and he swept clear approaching the last to finish alone as his two toiling rivals were both pulled up.

Another Ocana is owned by the Tribes Royals And Rebels Syndicate, who were keen to remember one of their members Pat Carey from Co Meath who sadly died a year ago.

Horse to Follow

Lady Corrib (M. Goff): A Nichols Canyon relation, this daughter of Sepoy went out on her sword when beaten a neck into second on her return to action in the five and six-year-old mares’ maiden. She should effortlessly open her account over the coming weeks.