JOSEPH O’Brien made it four feature race wins in as many days as a back to form Flying Scotsman and Wayne Lordan bagged the €45,000 Listowel Printing Works Handicap to head a treble for the trainer.
The J.P. McManus-owned gelding had been struggling for form for the last year and hadn’t won on the flat since scoring twice in as many days at the 2020 Galway Festival.
However, first-time blinkers worked the oracle on the five-year-old who was backed from 25/1 into 12/1 on track.
Flying Scotsman came under pressure sooner than some of his rivals but was able to hold a decent position on the outer and he answered his rider’s every call from the turn-in to close down San Martino who was holding a decent lead at this point.
Flying Scotsman eventually got on top inside the distance and he went on to score by a length and a quarter from Autumn Evening.
“That was some ride. Wayne said he was on and off the bridle but said he is a genuine horse when you ask him for more,” stated the trainer’s representative Brendan Powell.
“He has been disappointing over hurdles and it is nice to win another nice handicap with him. He goes flat through a race but is genuine when it comes to the business end and the light weight helped him.”
The best horse on show over the course of the day also hailed from Joseph O’Brien’s yard as Lark In The Morning impressed with his first triumph in the Buckley Agri New Holland Irish EBF Median Auction Maiden over a mile.
The barrier trial winner, who is a son of Soldier Hollow out of a half-sister to the German Derby hero Lucky Speed, was making his debut in a race with an interesting recent history.
The subsequent Irish Derby winner Santiago won this race in 2019 and last year’s winner, French Claim, went on to be third in the same Curragh classic.
Those heights are some way removed from these surrounds, but Lark In The Morning looks full of potential. Shane Crosse never had to get animated for the Sean and Bernardine Mulryan-owned colt to pick up Immutable and the 5/6 chance had a good deal more to spare than the winning margin of a neck might suggest.
“I think he’s a good horse and Shane said he did it nicely. He’s got a great attitude and is going to make a lovely three-year-old.
“He’s still a baby and Shane said he thinks he’s even grown a bit since he rode him in his barrier trial,” stated Brendan Powell.
White Caviar and Declan McDonogh brought up Joseph O’Brien’s treble in the Behan’s Horseshoe Bar, Restaurant & Townhouse Maiden over a mile and a half.
A runner-up in a Bellewstown maiden last month, the 2/1 favourite steadily worked her way into the reckoning and led over a furlong out en route to a two-and-a-quarter-length success over the useful jumper The Very Man back in second.
Evergreen Lord lights up for Nolan family
SOME five years after winning at this meeting, Lord Erskine struck again in the 47-70 rated handicap over a mile and three-quarters.
Also a former Irish Cesarewitch winner, the Harry Rogers stalwart still retains plenty of ability at the age of nine as this was his second win of the season.
The well-supported 8/1 shot surged clear of the field for Siobhan Rutledge from early in the straight and he kept on in willing fashion to defeat The Truant by two and a half lengths. The winner carries the colours of the late Jerry Nolan.
Ben Coen bounced back from a terrible fall here on Tuesday by striking on Johnny Murtagh’s Blues Emperor (13/8) in the MAC Fuels & General Supplies Maiden over a mile.
The lightly raced son of Gleneagles was having his first start of the year when finishing third in a maiden at Cork earlier in the month and built on that in determined style.
Blues Emperor, who wears the colours of his breeder Helen Keaveney, came with an unfaltering effort on the inner over the last furlong and a half to defeat Boher Road by three-parts of a length.
“I’m delighted for the owners. They are lovely people who I rode for when I was John Oxx and this horse has done nothing but improve,” stated Murtagh.
“He ran very well at Cork recently and he’s a very genuine horse. He might have one more run this year and I’d say the owners will be keen to race him again next year.”
Flame still burns brightly
ANDY Slattery’s Flame Of Eire has made relentless progress through the second half of the season and showed she isn’t done with yet as she brought up the rare feat of a handicap four-timer in the 50-80 rated Tote Ireland Handicap over one mile.
The Mary Harney-owned daughter of Mehmas was some 19lb higher than when beginning her winning run at Limerick in July but this mattered little and nor did her wide draw.
The 9/1 chance was going best of all for Andy Slattery junior early in the straight and, after striking for home approaching the final furlong, she kept on well to get home by a length and a half.
The winner is set to turn out again at Bellewstown on Wednesday before being aimed at next year’s Irish Lincoln.
Another improver is Run The Jewels (8/1) who made it three wins from his last five starts as he returned from a break of four months to land the 50-70 rated Thorn Plant Hire Handicap for Michael McCullagh and his grandson Scott.
One to follow
The Thomas James-owned gelding could be one to follow throughout the autumn given the manner of this success.
He looked to have everything covered from early in the straight and ran out a comfortable length-and-a-quarter winner over Way To Win after striking the front over a furlong out.
“His last run was over a straight seven furlongs in Cork and they were possibly were going half a stride too quick for him. Back over a mile today and around a bend he was good and he likes a bit of daylight so a wide draw suited today as well,” remarked assistant trainer Danny McLoughlin.
“I must say thank you to his owner Tom for giving us the chance with him and he’s a horse that could end up in the horses in training sales at the end of the year.
It was a landmark afternoon for apprentice Jessica O’Gorman who rode out her 10lb claim aboard the ultra-reliable Kevin Prendergast inmate Butterfly Garden (13/2) in the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Handicap over a mile and a half.
Now a dual winner and a three-time runner-up from her last five starts, the daughter of Awtaad got the better of Queen Of Seduction over the course of the last furlong to prevail by half a length in this three-year-old-only affair.
The winner was bred by her trainer and carries the colours of Trevor McCormack.
This was a welcome change of luck for the rider who spent a number of months on the sidelines after breaking her ankle in a fall at Ballinrobe in the spring.