THERE were some polished performances at Saturday’s Muskerry Foxhounds meeting at Dromahane, none more so than from the Alex Ott-trained Inchidaly Copper who continued his meteoric rise up through the pointing ranks by capturing the winners-of-two contest as he pleased.
Former hurdler Inchidaly Copper (7/4 - 9/4 favourite), having commenced his winning streak by shedding his maiden tag at Dawstown on May bank holiday Monday before landing a Clonakilty winners event on May 22nd, was bounced out in front by Chris O’Donovan in this eight-runner contest.
The son of Doyen, equipped with cheekpieces, gave an assured round of fencing and the chesnut stormed clear from the penultimate of the 15 obstacles to beat recent Tipperary hunter chase runner-up Nice To Meet by 10 lengths in the colours of Owen O’Flynn from Banteer.
“He’s a horse that’s very light on his feet and he really travels well on the nice ground. I suppose that he will go back hurdling now,” said Ott’s son Andy Burke Ott of the winner, who ran off a mark of 87 when finishing 14th on his most recent track foray in a Punchestown handicap hurdle just over a year ago.
Barry O’Neill was the only rider to depart with a double and he opened his account aboard Colin Bowe’s Shiroccosmagicgem (6/4 - 5/2 favourite) in the four-year-old mares’ maiden.
Shiroccosmagicgem brought the best form to the table in this opening contest considering that she finished third to Chosen Hero on her debut at Punchestown two weeks earlier.
She made progress from mid-division setting out on the final circuit to pick up the running two out.
While having to be posed a few questions, the winning daughter of Shirocco, representing Bunclody breeder Martin Murphy, displayed her tenacity by asserting from the last to see off stable-companion Barrons Land by two and a half lengths.
“She had a nice run in Punchestown and Barry [O’Neill] said that she would win the next day. She will probably now go to Doncaster sales in August,” said Bowe of Shiroccosmagicgem who traces back to the high class Dun Belle and Back In Focus.
O’Neill doubled up aboard Paul Nolan’s seasonal debutant Shawshank (7/2 - 4/1) in the open, much to the delight of the 10 bookmakers present.
Shawshank, a former dual points scorer as a five-year-old in 2018 who won a Wexford three-mile maiden hurdle, got into a lovely rhythm at the head of affairs and he led until Myrons past six out.
The eventual winner however moved back to the front after the fourth-last and he bounded clear from three out to dismiss Myrons by 10 lengths.
Shawshank clearly relishes good ground and the Kay Bowne-owned nine-year-old is now likely to return to the track.
MICK Goff experienced a productive end to the campaign and, while responsible for three winners over the entire weekend, he was the sole handler to record a double at this fixture and he opened his account with Finding Freedom (2/1 - 3/1) in the four-year-old geldings’ maiden.
The towering Finding Freedom, who shaped with distinct promise when beaten a shade over six lengths into sixth spot by Kinbara at Broughshane three weeks earlier, was always well positioned and he picked up the running before three out.
Waspy went for home before the second-last, but the winning son of Champs Elysees is nothing but tough and he stormed back to the fore for talented 5lbs claimer Dan Nevin inside the final 50 yards to beat Judicial Review by a neck. Waspy meanwhile returned a further half-length adrift in third spot.
“He’s a horse that was working well, but he’s still a bit immature,” said Goff of his wife Catriona’s Finding Freedom, whose dam is a half-sister to Grade 2 hurdle-winning mare Conduct Yourself from the same family as Baronet. Finding Freedom incidentally was purchased for €16,000 as a foal.
Goff was later back in the number one spot as Kaituna River (2/1 - 3/1), likewise sporting the silks of his wife Catriona, made a winning debut in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden.
The only debutant in the 15-runner field, Kaituna River readily swept past long-time leader Garcon Dargent with Mikey Sweeney on the run to two out. With Garcon Dargent beaten when erring at the last, the winning son of Ask stormed clear to eclipse Bartlemy debut fifth Tuff Days by six lengths. Garcon Dargent meanwhile faded to finish a further neck adrift in third.
“We took him to Castletown-Geoghegan earlier in the season, but he got a cut in the horse box that day. We couldn’t obviously run him and he then needed a bit of time after that,” remarked Goff of Kaituna River, who was bought by Jim Nolan for €11,000 as a foal and is a half-brother to four-time winning track mare Westernerka from the same family as Strong Flow.
ALEX HARVEY has really made giant strides this season and the Dubliner made his only mount of the afternoon a winning one by teaming up with Willie Murphy to collect the six-year-old and upwards maiden for novice riders, the race that attracted the biggest field of the afternoon with 17 runners, aboard Grageen (4/1 - 6/1).
The seasonal debutant, owned and bred by Leo Doyle, picked up the running two out and he was always travelling best thereafter, three lengths separating him from Georgie Benson’s mount Lr Mieux.
Murphy reported: “This is the first horse that Leo [Doyle] and his wife Mary have had with me.
“They are great people that I’ve known all my life and they have always supported our stallions at Ballycurragh going back to the 1970s’ when my late father Andy was standing Dusky Boy.”
Horse to Follow
Choral Valley (P. O’Rourke): A daughter of Mahler who is closely related to Banbridge, she stepped up from her fifth-placed Bartlemy debut effort to come third in the four-year-old mares’ maiden. She should prove up to track standard next term.