DAY one of the two-day Ballingarry fixture saw Co Waterford native James Hannon steal the show with a double that was kickstarted in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden.
Fifteen runners faced the starter for the contest, with more than half of the field still holding a chance at the third last. Hannon soon swept through to lead on the Harry Kelly-trained debutant, R S One (4/1 – 5/1) and they quickly put daylight between themselves and their rivals, holding a three-length advantage at the line from the Derek O’Connor-ridden West Clare.
“He was very good and very impressive,” said Hannon of the gelding whom the trainer also owns. “He travelled everywhere, jumped class and, if anything, I was probably in front too early. I was cruising and jumped the second last very well. He’s a very good horse and we always thought that he was good enough to win a bumper. We were just waiting for a bit of good ground. He did it very easily and was idling in front.”
Hannon brought up his double in the concluding winner-of-one race. Here the recent Dromahane maiden winner The Galahad Kid (5/4 – 1/1 favourite) headed the long-time leader U Asking Me on the turn for home and ran out a three-length winner at the line from the Cormac Doyle-trained Chato Santana.
The winning son of Quest For Peace was providing his handler Paul Kiely with his fourth success of the campaign.
Kiely said of the Rachel Murphy-owned winner: “It was real heavy ground at Dromahane the first day and Lisronagh didn’t work out. James was always confident that he would win a winners’ race. Hopefully he’ll have a new home for his next start.”
The four-year-old auction maiden saw just six horses face the starter but it produced one of the finishes of the day with Atlanta Brave (1/1 – 5/4 favourite) and Barry O’Neill getting on top of the Chris O’Donovan-ridden Quickly Now Please close home by a head. The winner had raced in second throughout before leading at the third last, and he wasn’t headed from that point. “He’s a grand, straightforward horse,” said Colin Bowe of the Milestone Bloodstock Ltd-owned gelding.
“Barry gave him a great ride, getting the inside, because I thought we were actually beat at the line.”
THE opening four-year-old mares’ maiden saw 12 of the 13 entries stand their ground and it was the Lisronagh debut fifth, On Se Calme (4/1 – 5/1), who put that experience to good use here by making all in the hands of Harley Dunne.
The daughter of No Risk At All was sent straight to the front by Dunne and the pair avoided all of the drama in behind as five horses came down, to score by two lengths at the line from the Colin Bowe-trained Sheeka Supreme. It was an eighth winner of the season for Doyle and a 14th for Dunne.
The winning handler said, of the Monbeg Farm Racing Partnership-owned mare: “She ran well in Lisronagh when she was a bit free but she put that experience to good use there. We gave her a month off after and she has improved since. Hopefully she will be okay tomorrow and we’ll head to the sales then. She likes a bit of nice ground. I’d say that you could drop her back in trip too as she seems to have plenty of speed.”
The five-year-old mares’ maiden was run at a steady pace throughout and all 10 who started were still in contention at the fourth last.
Gata Ban (4/1 – 5/1) challenged the leaders at the second last and soon led, before going on to score by two and a half lengths at the line from the Shane O’Rourke-ridden favourite Flyingatfifty. The winner had been brought down on debut at Ballyknock before most recently finishing fourth at Dawstown.
“That’s only her third run,” said winning handler Noel O’Neill of the mare who is owned by David Rice and Cian Fleming. “She’s a good, tough, genuine mare. She’s part-owned by David Rice, who actually rides out for me in the mornings, because I’m a farrier. We only have two on the go. They bought her to sell her so I imagine that she’ll go to the sales now.”
THE Stuart Crawford-trained and Stephen Connor-ridden Stamp Your Feet (1/1 – 5/4) made the journey down from his Larne, Co Antrim stable a very worthwhile one as he scored in the featured open contest.
Three horses held live chances turning for home but it was the son of Galileo who hit the front at the last under O’Connor with the pair battling on well up the run-in to score by a neck from the Daniel Hyde-ridden All Hell Let Loose.
The winner was supplementing his recent Largy victory for his owner-trainer, and Connor commented: “He did it well in the end. They didn’t make life easy for him early on as they went quick – I just had to nurse him along.
“He had loads left at the line. I wanted to keep him interested and not got too far out in front.
“He would probably want a bit easier ground too. We might aim to go to Stratford next year.
“There’s a hunter chase in Cartmel and a hunters chase in Listowel, so I would say that we’ll go for one of them and then give him a break.”
Horse To Follow
Flyingatfifty (V. Devereux): The daughter of Publisher supplemented her Punchestown second a week previously, to finish second again here, suggesting that a maiden success is simply a formality at this stage.
Following a fall in the finale, Liz Lalor was airlifted to Cork University Hospital, with IHRB Senior Medical Officer Dr Jennifer Pugh issuing an update on Monday afternoon describing Lalor’s condition as stable. All in the point-to-point community send their best wishes to Liz for her recovery.