JOHN McConnell notched a quick double at Dundalk on Wednesday as the horses battled with blustery conditions due to Storm Barra.
Mulgrave struck on his first outing for the Stamullen handler when running out a cosy winner of the first division of the 45-65 event.
The well-backed 5/1 shot led early in the straight for Donagh O’Connor and was easing up at the line to beat Wychwood Whisper by a margin of length and a quarter.
“He’s a nice big horse and he’s probably only coming to himself. Hopefully we can have a lot more fun with him over the winter,” said the winning trainer.
McConnell also landed the second heat of the mile handicap when Riliya popped up at 22/1.
The Awtaad filly was produced with a strong run by Siobhan Rutledge to lead inside the final furlong and get the better of Ampeson by a neck.
“It’s great to get that bracket with her and she might go in again as she’s only learning to race now,” said McConnell, who trains the winner for the Rockview Racing Syndicate.
“She actually is very well bred and is a half-sister to a good horse (Riyazan), so she has some residual value.”
PANDEMIC Princess gained a deserved victory when running out a cosy winner of the BetVictor Nursery.
The Richard O’Brien-trained filly had been in the money in several similar events at the venue and opened her winning account on her 10th outing.
Sean Davis led on the Mehmas filly from over a furlong out and she was always holding Pilbara Gold late on to score by half a length.
“I’m thrilled for the owners (Kingdom Thoroughbred Syndicate) who are great supporters of mine. I’ve a feeling there might be another one or two in her and Sean agrees,” said O’Brien.
In the other juvenile contest, Incrimination made a winning debut in the Newtown Anner Stud colours. Colin Keane swooped late on the Ger Lyons-trained filly as the 9/4 shot got up to beat National Gallery by half a length.
Assistant Shane Lyons said afterwards: “Her work at home suggested that she would win her maiden up here and it’s brilliant for Maurice (Regan), who bred her and has always liked her.
“When Maurice left her with Ger he said ‘she’s a two-year-old winner’ so it’s great that he was justified saying that.”
The other maiden, over 10 furlongs, saw the well-backed Indigo Desert step forward considerably from his debut performance.
Michael Halford’s charge had suffered “stage fright” first time up at the Curragh but the 9/2 shot was a convincing winner for Ronan Whelan this time. The Exceed And Excel colt led under two furlongs out and despite wandering a touch in the closing stages was always in command to post a length-and-a-half success.
“He ran around and he’s very green but has the ‘makings of a lovely horse,” said Halford. “He’s on the market. We bought 10 horses in a syndicate (Castle Beech Partnership) and nine of them are gone.”
Lord’s winning late charge
THE concluding 10-furlong handicap was also divided to form the eight-race card and Conor Clarke partnered his third career winner when producing Lord Mczie with a late charge to land the first heat.
Ray Hackett’s 22/1 shot denied the consistent No Trouble by half a length on his first attempt at the trip.
“I’m thrilled for Conor and hopefully it’ll kickstart him again from here,” said the winning trainer. “This horse is very versatile, he’s honest and it’s grand when they handle it up here.”
In the second division, the Jack Davison-trained Massaman proved game at the business end when repelling the challenge of Dinamine by a neck.
“He’s a big horse and takes time to get into his stride. He found the line well today and could be on an upward curve,” reported winning rider Gary Halpin after the success of the 11/1 shot.
NOEL Kelly had a profitable week with House Of Kings who returned a week after being claimed at the venue to spring a 22/1 shock in the opener.
The Camelot gelding took a jump up in trip to a mile and a half and was delivered late by Leigh Roche to beat Zoom Tiger by a head. Winning jockey Roche, who marries his fiancée Shauna on Saturday, later reported: “The plan was to take my time and ride him to get the trip. They all stopped in front and he got there and did it well.”
House Of Kings, previously claimed by Kelly for €5,000, was claimed this time by James McAuley for €7,000 and also won his connections €6,000.
It didn’t look good for 5/6 favourite Nibiru when he pulled up quickly after two furlongs in the race, but he later walked back having locked his stifle in running.