PETER Fahey completed a double on the final day of the Listowel festival on Saturday as winners Skippin Court and Ambitious Fellow continued the good run of the in-form trainer.
Fahey, who registered four winners at the Galway Festival, began by winning the Allman Contracts Novice Hurdle with Ambitious Fellow (100/30, for the OGB Partnership), who survived an untidy jump at the final flight before staying on well to pass Nos Na Gaoithe close home, for a head win under jockey Sam Ewing.
The trainer said: “We were unlucky in Galway as the rain came when he was the one horse I thought would win. He had a lovely run around under Darren Harris, who works in the yard, when finishing third in the Corinthian Challenge the other day.
“Even though he won at Punchestown, he is a novice in the UK for the season and might go to Cheltenham in November for a novice hurdle which Peregrine Run won. He has plenty experience and two miles and five would suit him.”
Kevin Sexton was on board Fahey’s second winner, Skippin Court (morning 16/1 to 6s), in the M.J. Carroll Arro Handicap Hurdle, as the gelding survived a stewards’ enquiry to win for the delighted Dexys Midnight Runners Syndicate.
Fahey said: “He was finishing out his races fairly well so I thought the step up to two miles and four would work.
“He won here this day last year as well so that gave us confidence he’d handle the track. He will be a nicer horse over a fence as he has gone a little lairy over hurdles.
“Gavin O’Toole runs the syndicate for friends and relations from Confey, Leixlip - they’re staying down so will definitely celebrate.”
Racing began with the Rachael Blackmore-partnered, former flat performer Rumi (15/2) who made a fine impression when winning the John Lynch Memorial Maiden Hurdle on his jumps debut, for trainer and owner Edward O’Grady.
The giant-sized son of Harzand made all, jumped impeccably and scored easily from Rock On Pedro.
O’Grady revealed: “He is my Sprinter Sacre. I am so looking forward to him jumping a fence because he will go through a brick wall.
“I’m delighted as she (Blackmore) said he rode very raw and while he ran on the flat, he is 17 hands and she said he rode like a point-to-pointer. She said he wasn’t as sharp as your normal four-year-old that had run on the flat.
“He might run in a two-mile flat handicap at Thurles next month as he has a pretty low rating and I think he will be there or thereabouts for the novice season.”
THE most valuable race on the card was the €22,500 Charlie Chute Memorial Handicap Chase, which went to the Tony Martin-trained, Peter Carberry-ridden Sil Ver Klass and added further successful for the Mulvany’s Bar Syndicate.
The 5/2 shot beat the favourite Mattie’s Mountain by two lengths having led into the straight and held the advantage with clean jumps over the last two fences.
Martin reported: “He is owned by a great bunch of lads from Dunboyne and it is great to see him click. There was a divided camp today because half of the syndicate are involved in Gordon Bennett (winner of the Joe McGrath Handicap at the Curragh) so we’re low in numbers!”
He added: “He is consistent on the flat and his jumping won it. He was positive, his experience helped because if the last wasn’t there it might have been a different result. That’s what it’s about, having enough runs in chases and it went the right way.”
The other chase was the Terry Moriarty (QR) Handicap Chase which was won by the J.P. McManus-owned, Enda Bolger-trained Mica Malpic (5/1 - 4/1), which benefitted from a fine waiting ride from Derek O’Connor.
Held up in rear-division, Mica Malpic was in mid-field by halfway and crept into contention on the inside in the final half mile. O’Connor’s mount was comfortably clear of Brideswell Lad and Outside The Door when both fell at the second last and also had the measure of Goodnightngodbless when that one exited at the final fence.
Bolger said: “He had won a hurdle in France and then disappointed but he has his mojo back. I don’t think he even had a race the way Derek rode him.
“He has been unfortunate and had one race in the bag when falling in Wexford (in June). He ran a lovely race when staying on at Killarney and the three miles today was a help.
“I was happy the rain stayed away and I think he had the race in the bag when the other horses fell. He’s a nice horse for the future as he is only five and that’s job done and I’m over the moon.”
Amateur jockey John Gleeson bagged a second winner of the festival week in the concluding Brendan Daly Memorial (Pro/Am) Bumper when making all the running on the Denis Hogan-trained Thecompanysergeant (11/10 favourite), for owner Martin Cooney.
Hogan later said: “He missed a year after his point-to-point and it was the making of him as he has strengthened up into a lovely horse.
“All his form has worked out and this race worked out nicely. It broke up a lot (with three non-runners) and John Gleeson was top class and is going places.
“He’ll go hurdling now and might develop into a nice novice hurdler. He’ll handle soft ground.”
Mixed feelings with Penny success
TRAINER Pat Downey had mixed emotions following the win of his Penny Jar (4/1) in the Kathleen Walsh Memorial Handicap Hurdle (Div I).
Ridden by Conor McNamara for owner Kevin Heaney, the six-year-old blundered at the third flight and eventually battled hard for a neck win over Jakie Mac.
Downey said: “I’m delighted for Conor McNamara who has been a huge help to me over the last 12 months but am so disappointed for Paddy O’Brien who rode his first winner on him the last day.
“I had to make a heart-breaking decision who would ride and I know he is hurt, but he is a big part of my plans. Paddy and Conor are two great guys who have brought us along.
“Poor old Sean Flanagan (on the runner-up), who lives down the road from me, said some nice words as we finished, but they can’t be printed!”
The second division was won by 12-year-old banks horse Hurricane Darwin (11/1), providing 7lb claiming amateur jockey Simon Cavanagh with a memorable success. Successful on his previous start over the Punchestown banks in April, the Douglas Taylor-owned gelding arrived from off the pace to lead on the run-in and beat Marelly.
Cavanagh stated: “I thought the trip might be short for him but credit to Cormac [Farrell] who has done a good job with him and has brought him back fresh.
“I thought we were in a lot of trouble down the back straight, when he was flat out, but he kept finding. I’m delighted to get this winner as my dad had a winner here as an owner a few years ago, to come back and do this is brilliant. Thanks to Cormac for giving me these chances.”