THERE was some outstanding fare at last Sunday’s Duhallow – Kanturk meeting at Dromahane and the Ellemarie Holden-trained newcomer Mirazur West must be alluded as a desperately unlucky loser of the four-year-old geldings’ maiden.
This event witnessed the biggest field of the afternoon in 13 runners with Denemethy and Attaboydylan setting the early fractions as Mirazur West, an own-brother to dual Grade 1 winner Ferny Hollow, was covered up in mid-division.
Mirazur West moved through to dispute the running before three out and the son of Westerner then set sail for home after this third-last fence.
Having blundered two out, he still appeared to be travelling best of all on the run to the last with a two-length advantage. The Holden runner however came to grief here and John Nallen’s Minella Double (5/1 - 7/1), who was destined to finish second to Wrappeupinmay but for falling at this same final fence on his debut here at Dromahane in April, was the one to take advantage.
The Shantou-sired three-parts brother to Death Duty was left clear to beat newcomer Ballybrack Wood by five lengths Johnny Barry. The favourite, Syracus Du Houx, returned a further one length adrift in third spot.
“He’s a tough, old-fashioned staying type of horse,” said Nallen of Minella Double, a €40,000 acquisition as a foal. Nallen, who paid tribute to his assistant ‘Corky’ Carroll and rider Barry, indicated that Minella Double is now likely to be sold.
A similar scenario unfolded in the four-year-old mares’ maiden as the final fence likewise claimed Donnchadh Doyle’s newcomer Theatre Native, who had the race in safekeeping at the time of her departure. Theatre Native was bounced out smartly by Rob James and she took the nine runners along at a decent clip.
The daughter of Getaway could be called the most likely winner from three out as she was holding a five-length advantage at this third-last fence and was showing no signs of stopping. She went further clear from two out and was some 15 lengths clear when exiting.
The departure of the Monbeg Syndicate runner enabled Ellen Doyle’s newcomer Pinot Rouge (3/1 - 6/1) come through to dismiss recent Umma House fourth Alo’s Vision by two lengths in the hands of Brian Dunleavy.
Lily’s Choice was the only other finisher, a further three lengths adrift of the winning daughter of Vendangeur.
Doyle’s brother James intimated that Pinot Rouge, a half-sister to Eddie Harty’s dual track winner Advantage Point hailing from the immediate family as Berties Dream and Bannow Bay, will now be sold.
The Michael Mangan-trained All About Lucy (6/4 - 2/1 favourite) provided Derek O’Connor with a measure of recompense for his earlier fall aboard Mirazur West by collecting the five-year-old mares’ maiden.
All About Lucy, having brought one of the strongest pieces of form to the table considering that she finished fourth on her only previous start at Nenagh last March, always travelled well and she moved into second spot on the long run before three out.
The daughter of Fame And Glory had her task greatly simplified at this third-last obstacle as marginal leader Dixies Girl and the third-placed My Reprieve both exited independently. All About Lucy, representing John Sayers from Listowel, was then left with a relatively straightforward task to account for Tinkerbay by three and a half lengths.
Handler Mangan’s son Gerry, the former amateur, disclosed that All About Lucy had been working well in the lead up to this race.
Giovinco gets the verdict
THE five-year-old geldings’ maiden witnessed the closest finish of the afternoon with last season’s Knockanard eyecatcher Giovinco (5/2 - 2/1) narrowly coming out on top from Quantum Storm.
The Micheal Griffin-trained Giovinco, who was lying a close third when falling at the final fence in the Knockanard maiden won by State Of Power, was held up well off the pace by first-time partner Tom Feeney with the son of Walk In The Park easing his way into contention from before two out. Quantum Storm still held the call from the Giovinco on the run to the final fence, but a terrific jump here took the eventual winner to the front early on the flat.
Quantum Storm rallied to tremendous effect in the closing stages, but he was still a head adrift at the line with a four-length break back to Find A Fortune in third spot.
“Tom [Feeney] gave him a great ride and he’s a horse that has improved a lot both mentally and physically since last season,” said handler Griffin of his brother Colm’s Giovinco, whose dam is a half-sister to Rocky Creek and Tell Massini.
Michael Winters likes nothing more than to have a winner at this venue and he struck with newcomer Churchtown Gigi, (5/2 - 3/1 co-favourite) owned and jointly bred by former point-to-point champion rider Jimmy Gordon, in the five-year-old and upwards adjacent hunts maiden.
Churchtown Gigi was always positioned close to the pace and he took command from three out with Chris O’Donovan to thwart the previous Sunday’s Rathcannon runner-up Worth Presenting by a length.
However, the latter was subsequently disqualified when his rider Mikey Tobin failed to weigh in. The late Donie Sheehan was the joint-breeder of Churchtown Gigi and it was fitting that the Killarney-based figure’s son Liam was on hand to join in the post-race celebrations.
O’Connor off the mark
THE Seamus Neville-trained grey Notice To Close (5/2 - 2/1) provided former southern regional champion rider Mikey O’Connor with a first success of the season by landing the open.
Notice To Close, having finished second on his return to points duty behind Cloudy Tuesday at Kinsale two weeks earlier, adapted his customary frontrunning role and the former 131-rated chaser asserted between the final two fences to beat Snow Falcon by five lengths in the colours of Neville’s wife Ina.
It certainly was a memorable afternoon for Bridgetown-based handler Neville as he also sent out Tennessee Titan to win the novice riders maiden at Knockmullen House.
Horse to Follow
Theatre Native (D. Doyle): This newcomer by Getaway was all of 15 lengths clear when falling at the last in the four-year-old mares’ maiden. She should ultimately take very high order on the racetrack.