THE talented Gentleman De Mee continued his impressive transition to fences with a dominant all-the-way success in the Grade 3 Flyingbolt Novice Chase which has set up a tilt at top company next month.
The J.P. McManus-owned six-year-old won a beginners’ chase by 34 lengths at Thurles last month and odds of 1/5 indicated that more of the same was expected here. The free-wheeling son of Saint Des Saints went straight to the front for Mark Walsh and had built up a huge lead by the time he reached the halfway point in this two-mile affair. There was a point after the turn in where Grange Walk and Streets Of Doyen closed up but the market leader had any amount left in reserve and was unextended to win by 16 lengths.
“He’s settling better, jumping better and settling into his game. If I can’t find a suitable two-mile race we might take a chance and step him up in trip for the two-and-a-half-mile Grade 1 at Fairyhouse but there is the Grade 1 over two miles at Punchestown,” said Mullins. “Mark thought he settled a fair bit better today, after the first two fences he said he was grand.”
The market suggested that the two-mile mares’ maiden hurdle was sure to go to Willie Mullins who saddled the 11/10 joint favourites Belle Metal and Take Tea. The pair duly fought out the finish with the Paul Townend-ridden Belle Metal carrying the day, but the Kenny Alexander-owned mare had to dig deep for this.
She looked to be in big trouble when losing a couple of places and dropping back to fourth at the end of the back straight and it was only after the final flight where victory seemed likely as she finished with a flourish to defeat Take Tea by a length and a half.
“She has a bit to learn yet about jumping. I’d say the ground being dead probably helped over two miles as she stays. She’s not the quickest and doesn’t jump the quickest but she’s getting the hang of it,” stated the jockey.
Louise Lyons has now won with five of the eight horses she has run this season after Lady Rita bolted up in the two-and-three-quarter-mile maiden hurdle.
The Ken Kinahan-owned daughter of Westerner was sent off the 6/4 favourite and she eased to the front for Richie Condon to lead after the second last en route to a smooth nine-length success. There could easily be more to come from this mare after just five career outings.
AHEAD of a Cheltenham Festival where his team is headed by leading Stayers’ Hurdle hopeful Flooring Porter, Gavin Cromwell enjoyed a major fillip as he enjoyed a 35/1 treble.
The trainer combined with Luke Dempsey to bag both divisions of the Race Displays-sponsored four-year-old maiden hurdle and the first split provided Vera Verto with a deserved success.
This From The Clouds Partnership-owned filly deserved to get her turn having shown up well in maidens won by juveniles of the calibre of Icare Allen and The Tide Turns and looked a worthy evens favourite. She had to fight hard though as Douglas Dc only gave best in the last couple of strides to go down by a neck.
“I’m not sure she was in love with the gluey ground but she deserved it. We’ll maybe look at a rated race for her next,” reported Cromwell.
The odds-on Global Export struck for the same combination in the other divide of that maiden hurdle.
The 4/6 shot was badly hampered four out and made a bad mistake when challenging for the lead two out, but he gathered himself to lead again on the run-in and defeat Evergreen And Red by five lengths. This son of Golden Horn was another deserving winner after filling the runner-up spot in maidens at Fairyhouse and Naas on his last couple of starts.
Silvertown (10/1) and Keith Donoghue completed the treble in the P.S. Supplies Doors & Floors Handicap Hurdle over two and a half miles.
This Derek Twiss-owned five-year-old pulled up last time but had previously posted a series of efforts which suggested a race like this could be within his grasp. Silvertown arrived with a strong challenge at the last flight and kept on well to defeat the 5/2 joint favourite Sparkling Stars.
“Keith said he was much sweeter today than he was last time when the ground was just too deep. He’s a big horse and has youth on his side,” declared the trainer.
THE evergreen My Manekineko (12/1) took his career tally to nine wins from 113 starts in the veterans’ chase over three miles which kicked off a double for James Nash.
Gavin Brouder had been due to partner both horses but he was sidelined after a fall at Clonmel on Thursday and the first to pick up a chance winner was Mike O’Connor who teamed up with My Manekineko.
Some eight years after his first success, the Nash-owned and trained gelding recorded his first victory over this trip with a determined effort. He was hard at work for much of the straight but steadily inched closer to the lead and pounced in the closing stages for a neck success over Hear No Evil.
“He’s a great old horse, I was hoping he’d run well here and go back to Downpatrick for the race he won last year in a few week’s time,” reflected Nash. “We worked a few young horses with him about 10 days ago and I went back to the car sick as he was after beating them all. It just goes to show he still has an engine.”
The Nash double was completed by Alohamora in the two-and-a-half-mile mares’ handicap chase where the eight-year-old followed up a win at Catterick last month.
Jack Foley replaced Brouder on the Alamo Eight Syndicate-owned daughter of English Channel who held every chance from the third last. The 10/1 chance had to fight hard to remain in front for the duration of the straight but she turned away one rival after another and lasted home to edge out the first-time blinkered Fiveaftermidnight by a head. The hat-trick-chasing evens favourite All Class could only manage sixth.
“She’s improving and maybe she’s just getting stronger. Jack said she was a bit iffy over the first couple of fences but when she warmed up she was fantastic,” said Nash. “She’s qualified for a couple of races in Haydock next month, a stayers’ mares’ race and a stayers’ hurdle.”