IT was third time lucky for the North Tipperary Foxhounds at Nenagh on Saturday as their fixture finally got the go-ahead after a couple of washouts.
They were rewarded with a competitive six-race card that saw the Stuart Crawford-trained newcomer Coco Masterpiece (7/4 – 9/4 joint-favourite) run out the most impressive winner of the day in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden.
The son of Authorized was given an ice-cool ride by the handler’s brother Ben Crawford, as he passed every rival from the fourth last, to run out an impressive four-length winner over the Colin Bowe-trained Heaven Smart.
“He’s a lovely horse. We’ve been itching to get him out for a while. I could have gone to the track with him but he’s a very good jumper and probably learned more doing what he did there today. He was coming here last week if it had been on, the ground doesn’t matter to him - he’s just a good horse,” said the winning handler of the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned winner.
“I wanted to run him at a good, big track like this to start off where we could take our time and educate him a bit.”
The featured ladies open saw a small but select field that featured last season’s Joseph O’Reilly hunter chase winner Solomn Grundy (1/2 – 4/6f favourite), and the one-time leading Cheltenham Foxhunters contender Stand Up And Fight. After a great tussle up the straight, it was the former who came out on top for Sean Doyle and Susie Doyle, who was recording her fifth success of the season.
The winner had only finished second in the Tetratema Cup at Gowran Park a week previously and won by a length and a half here from the Enda Bolger-trained Stand Up And Fight.
Ran a cracker
“He ran a cracker and Susie gave him a great ride. We were delighted with him at Gowran Park last week – the last fence had to be bypassed twice and that didn’t suit him. You’d hope that he can win a few more of these now. We might aim him for the Joseph O’Reilly at Fairyhouse again,” said the winning handler.
The mares’ maiden saw a big field of 13 face the starter and it was Annie Magic (2/1 – 7/4 favourite) who ran out a thoroughly deserving winner after a near miss at Farmacaffley three weeks previously.
The winning daughter of Westerner was given a confident Barry O’Neill ride as the pair ran out easy 10-length winners from the Denis Hogan-trained Shamror Lass. The Wolfe Pack Partnership-owned winner was providing her handler Aidan Fitzgerald with his sixth success of the season.
O’Neill said: “She deserved that. She was going to win snugly the first day in Dromahane before she unseated. She just made a mistake at the last, the last day then but she’s a nice mare. She’ll be for sale now.”
THE opening four-year-old auction maiden was run at a steady pace and five of the six that started still held chances as the field turned for home.
However, Derek O’Connor always had his rivals where he wanted them on the front-running Loop Head (2/1 – 5/2) and he looked set to collect in style before a bad mistake at the last handed the fast-finishing Go West and James Kenny half a chance.
O’Connor quickly regathered his mount and came home half-length winners, having lost his irons. This was the first leg of O’Connor’s double on the day. “He made a slight mistake at the last but that was more of a jockey error!” said O’Connor of the John Staunton-owned and trained winner.
“He behaved well and jumped great. It would have been a really good performance but for that mistake at the last.”
O’Connor managed to complete the double in the winner-of-one contest that saw a match between Maike Magnussen’s Borris winner Camilla’s Choice and the Enda Bolger-trained De Nordener (1/2 favourite). O’Connor led from flag fall on De Nordener and he looked like he had the measure of his sole rival when she came down at the second last, leaving the J.P. McManus-owned winner to come home alone.
“He did that well. He’s a good horse and he came well recommended off Tom Keating. We haven’t had him that long. He’ll probably have another run in a winner of two before heading for the Ladies Cup at the Punchestown Festival,” commented Bolger.
THE concluding older maiden saw a pulsating finish between Andy Slattery’s well-backed newcomer, Henry Gray (3/1 – 11/10 favourite) and Sam Curling’s recent Lisronagh second Le Boulevardier, with the former narrowly obliging by a head.
The winning son of Doyen provided Slattery’s nephew Adam Ryan with just the second winner of his career after the pair made all of the running here.
“We were expecting a big run today. He does everything nicely at home and jumps really well. He just held on at the line. He was idling a bit up the straight. It’s a bit daunting here first time out. Andy gave me plenty of confidence about him beforehand,” said Ryan of the Michael Doyle-owned winner.
Horse To Follow
Go West (Liam Kenny): This son of Westerner had looked beaten turning for home but he found a second wind under James Kenny to only lose out by half a length at the line. He should be able to make amends in a similar auction maiden during the spring season.