WHAT looked a red-hot edition of the €90,000 eComm Merchant Solutions Handicap Hurdle was turned into an utterly one sided one by Gavin Cromwell’s Flooring Porter who dominated this three-mile affair from start to finish.
In a race that attracted a field worthy of the purse, a case could have been made for any number of runners and one of those was Flooring Porter.
He had reached the frame in a similar event at Galway in the summer and only once in his last nine starts had he finished outside the first four, but a starting price of 22/1 reflected the calibre of rivals he faced.
However, nothing could lay a glove on Jonathan Moore’s mount who bossed this race from the front. The field did close up nearing the turn into the straight but the leader still had any amount to give and quickly moved on again after the third last.
A fairly substantial blunder at the last made no difference to Flooring Porter who coasted home by a dozen lengths from the favourite, The Bosses Oscar, with the November Handicap winner, De Name Escapes Me, a further neck away in third.
“It wasn’t the plan to make the running but he relaxed very well in front and he jumped brilliantly,” reflected Cromwell who trains the winner for the Flooring Porter Syndicate. “He’s definitely a better horse going this way and this is a great pot to win with him. I’m not sure where he goes from here and we’ll see what the handicapper does. Maybe the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January could be an option.”
Arthur Moore has been enjoying a nice run lately and once again showed that given the material he can deliver the results, just as he always has, as Crossed My Mind (8/1) landed the Grade B Foxrock Handicap Chase.
On an excellent afternoon for J.P. McManus, who enjoyed a treble, this Beneficial eight-year-old was following up a win at Thurles a month ago and he had something to spare in landing this €40,000 prize. After easing to the front Niall Madden’s mount could afford to run down the last fence and defeat Fairy Legal by four and a half lengths.
“He’s just had niggly problems throughout his career but over the last few months we’ve had a really clear run with him,” declared Moore. “The Leopardstown Chase in early February would look a good race to aim towards if we bypassed Christmas with him.”
After a most uncharacteristic display seven days previously when he whipped round and got left at the start at Fairyhouse, Legacy Thor set the record straight in the first division of the Hotel Park St Johann Tirol Maiden Hurdle.
Ben Crawford was on board this six-year-old who is trained by his brother Stuart for owner-breeder Chris Johnson and Legacy Thor was sent off a well backed 8/1 chance. The experienced six-year-old made the running and finished with four and a half lengths to spare over Minella Escape.
Andy works hard to stay unbeaten over fences
GORDON Elliott had to settle for a minor role in the day’s feature but otherwise he made this day his own with a four-timer which he completed when Andy Dufresne made it two wins from as many starts over fences in the Grade 3 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Klairon Davis Novice Chase.
The J.P. McManus-owned gelding was returned at 8/15 to see off his two rivals but the front-runner had to work somewhat for this success. Embittered looked to be going just as well early in the straight but Andy Dufresne produced quicker jumps at the second last and the last which were pivotal in him defeating that opponent by three lengths.
“I think he would be better at two and a half miles,” commented the trainer. “Christmas might come a bit soon and we will look towards the New Year with him and he’ll have options in all those good novice chases.”
The victory of Andy Dufresne was preceded by a dominant display from Conflated in the John Lynch Carpets Beginners Chase over two and a half miles where he floored the odds-on The Big Getaway.
The Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old had the benefit of two previous chase runs to his name, including a fine second to Asterion Forlonge at Punchestown last month, and Jack Kennedy was keen to make use of that experience by sending him straight to the front. From a long way out the winner was being kept company by The Big Getaway, who possibly landed in front at a few fences, but from the second last the latter folded quickly as an unrelenting Conflated powered home to score by 17 lengths.
“He’s a good horse and he just needs to go left-handed. You could see his jumping was much straighter today,” stated Elliott. “I’m not sure if he’ll run over Christmas but I’d like to aim him at the Dublin Racing Festival, be it the Leopardstown Chase or the Flogas Novice Chase.”
A good card concluded with a high-class display in the bumper where the Willie Mullins-trained Kilcruit (4/5) ran riot in Irish Racing Industry Fundraiser For Children’s Health Foundation Crumlin In Memory Of Pat Smullen Flat Race.
A runner-up for the trainer’s brother, Tony, on his debut at Clonmel last March this Maureen Mullins-bred son of Stowaway looks a class act. Patrick Mullins could afford to sit motionless for most of the straight as the Margaret Masterson-owned gelding eased his way into contention and he already had the race in safe keeping when quickening away over the course of the last furlong for a nine-and-a-half-length triumph. He can hold his own in quality bumpers if remaining in this sphere for the rest of the season.
GORDON Elliott’s day also featured two maiden hurdle triumphs and he could have a lot to look forward to with Magic Tricks, a younger brother of Abacadabras.
The J.P. McManus-owned gelding met with defeat on his racecourse debut when he was fourth in a Punchestown bumper but looked altogether better in the four-year-old maiden hurdle to suggest that he could have a future in graded company. Mark Walsh’s mount was travelling notably well turning for home and while he wasn’t that fluent at the last three flights, he was far too good for these rivals. He led from the second last and handed out an eight-and-a-half-length beating to Great Bear.
“He’s a good horse and I was surprised he got beaten first time out but he may not have been fit enough. Hopefully he can step up in grade but I’ll speak to Frank (Berry) and J.P. about plans,” stated Elliott.
On the day they sponsored the feature race Noel and Valerie Moran saw their colours carried to victory at Navan for the first time as the Elliott-trained Clondaw Secret (8/1) made a winning start on the track in the second division of the Hotel Park St Johann Tirol Maiden Hurdle.
Almost a year to the day after making a winning point-to-point debut this son of Court Cave produced a nice effort under Jack Kennedy in this two-and-a-half-mile affair. Even though he got the last flight wrong the winner didn’t lose that much momentum and he kept on very nicely to the line to get the better of a lengthy duel with Lifetime Ambition.
“He’s a nice type but he is more of a chaser and we’ll take it steadily with him and look for a winner’s race in around a month’s time. There’s more to come from him and he’ll improve throughout the season,” reported the trainer.