THE all conquering Joseph O’Brien made it two feature race wins in as many days as Neptune Rock came from out of the clouds to claim a last-gasp triumph in the Listed Edmund & Josie Whelan Memorial Listowel Stakes.
After landing the Lartigue Hurdle on Monday, O’Brien struck here with a filly who has long threatened to play a part at this level. The Michael O’Flynn-owned four-year-old had yet to secure a stakes placing prior to this nine-furlong contest but she had run a number of good races in smart company and put it altogether despite having to come from an unpromising position.
The Shane Crosse-ridden Neptune Rock had most of the field to pass turning in but enjoyed a trouble-free passage down the outer and her sustained charge carried her to the front in the final yards as she got the verdict by half a length from Venice Biennale. The complexion of this race changed dramatically over the course of the final furlong and Sh Boom, who looked a likely winner for much of the straight, was actually run out of the placings late on.
“She’s always threatened to do something like that,” said O’Brien’s assistant Brendan Powell. “Shane said that although he was wide he got a clean run in the straight which was very important. Michael (O’Flynn) is a breeder so it’s great she has gone and got her blactype for him today.”
The first flat race of the meeting went to Dermot Weld as Tiverton bounced back from his odds-on defeat at the Galway Festival to land the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden over seven furlongs for which he was sent off the 8/11 favourite.
From the first crop of Expert Eye, this Juddmonte-owned colt was always to the fore and retained control of the race after finding himself in a share of the lead early in the straight. He first fought off Pearl Of Australia and then struck to his task to hold Boy Scout by half a length.
“He’s a lovely, big horse and is still filling into his frame,” commented the trainer’s son Kris. “He is the type of horse I expect to improve plenty over the winter. We might run him once more this year and the Killavullan Stakes would be an option but he could easily be put away for the winter.”
GARY Carroll enjoyed quite a day as he reeled off a treble, his third of the season, which took in a double for Joe Murphy before he signed off by striking on Gavin Cromwell’s Earls (100/30) in the Listowel Arms Hotel Handicap over a mile.
The Martin Sheridan-owned Earls has been in a great vein of form all season and lined up here chasing a hat-trick after two wins at Roscommon. As he went in search of his first success over a mile the five-year-old had work to do turning for home but he came with quite a rattle in a frantic finish. A slew of challengers arrived with chances late on but nothing could match the strong-finishing Earls who edged out the front-running Eastern Wind by a head.
“He is a dinger of a horse, is as game as a pebble and when I got him out and going he really put the head down and galloped for me,” said Carroll. “He used to wear blinkers in the past but travelled too strong in his races whereas without them he is relaxing well.”
Prior this Carroll landed the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Premier Nursery on Joe Murphy’s Lord Massusus (13/2).
This race was marred by a chilling incident just after the halfway point where Ben Coen took a horrible fall from Tiymara, but happily the rider was able to walk away afterwards.
In terms of the outcome, Lord Massusus led approaching the final furlong and the John Bourke-owned son of Markaz kept on well to defeat the top-weight, With Love, by two and a half lengths. The winner had struggled on his first two outings but took a step forward to chase home National Emblem at Gowran last month and this represented another step in the right direction.
“He is still plenty green but when I squeezed him at the two pole he picked up and when he hit the front he pricked his ears,” remarked the rider. “This trip suits him and he has the size and scope to make a nice three-year-old.”
The Gary Carroll treble began when the Murphy-trained Prophets Voice (11/4) got his turn in the Jet, Peggy & Eamonn O’Carroll Memorial Maiden over seven furlongs as he made his third appearance in seven days.
The experienced three-year-old had been running to a solid level all season and dominated this race from the front. The first-time-blinkered gelding, who is owned by Kevin Duffy, reached the line with three lengths to spare while the 4/9 favourite Gambe Veloci could only manage third.
ANDREW Kinirons enhanced his fine Listowel record as the reliable Mary Salome (17/2) notched up the fifth win of her career in the 50-80 Southern Milling & Paul & Vincent Quality Feeds Handicap over seven furlongs.
The six-year-old mare came with a strong charge for Billy Lee over the last furlong to cut down Ransom late on and carry the day by half a length.
“She’s been very consistent all year and she’s improving away,” stated the trainer, who also owns the daughter of Zebedee.
There was a 25/1 surprise lying in wait in the first divide of the 47-65 rated Rose Hotel Handicap as Pat Fahy’s Navorrosse bounced back to form. The five-year-old had been struggling for most of the season but had dropped down the weights and he came with a strong charge for Rory Cleary inside the distance to nail Super Cub on the line. The winner is owned by the Allovertheshop Syndicate.
Another horse to take advantage of a slipping mark was Star Of Cashel (5/1) in the second divide of the Rose Hotel Handicap where he triumphed off a rating of 60 which was some 24lbs lower than the mark off which he began the season.
In a race where very few got involved Adam Caffrey had his mount looking on from second before sending him past the front running Sheila approaching late on.
“Adam was very good and positive on him,” said McGuinness. “His ride was the winning of the race and I think he’s very good value for his 7lbs claim. I’d say this horse will run back at the Curragh on Sunday.”