THE first of two visits to Lisronagh this spring produced a high-quality eight-race card with plenty of quality performers on show.
The star performer of the day was Better Days Ahead (5/1 – 6/1) in the four-year-old geldings’ maiden as Warren Ewing made the trip down from his Co Antrim base a worthwhile one.
The son of Milan always travelled like the winner in the hands of Dara McGill, and he ran out a two-length victor over the Derek O’Connor-ridden Farnoge.
“We got him off John Bleahen, who highly recommended him. He’s a gorgeous horse and we came here fancying him today. He’ll go to the Cheltenham sales now,” said Ewing of the winner whom he also owns.
The opening four-year-old mares’ maiden on the card was the first of its kind to be run this year and it too produced a potentially high-class winner in Between Waters (2/1 – 3/1).
The Sean Doyle-trained and Jamie Scallan-ridden daughter of Walk In The Park disputed for much of the contest, before pulling away up the straight to run out an eight-length winner over the Ellen Doyle-trained Realisation.
“This is a very high quality mare. She had a run in a schooling hurdle in Fairyhouse two weeks ago, and she was just awesome. We bought her at the Derby Sale as a three-year-old, and she’ll go back to the sales now,” said Doyle, of the Monbeg Partnership-owned mare.
The older mares’ maiden contest saw the biggest field of the day with 18 runners facing the starter. It quickly turned into a match though, with Lady Stanwix (4/1 – 5/1) and Lady Kate, being the first two throughout.
They produced a thrilling finish with the former coming out on top by a length for her owner and breeder Tom Egan. It was a fifth winner of the season for Finny Maguire and a second for Nicky Stokes, who said: “She’s a grand mare, who is still very green. She took a while to come to hand, but she’s very straightforward and keeps galloping.”
THE five-year-old geldings’ maiden was the first of two races on the card to divide, and the first split produced a winning debutant son of Court Cave, namely Haveanothergoflo (2/1 – 3/1).
The Barry O’Neill-ridden and Colin Bowe-trained gelding was given a patient ride before hitting the front up the straight.
He ran out a cosy six-length winner in the end from the Tom Keating-trained Lucky Zebo.
Bowe said of the Gerard Blake-owned winner: “He is very straightforward. He jumps well and Barry said that he has a big engine. He’ll go to the sales now.”
The second division had a dramatic conclusion as the runaway leader Joe Dadancer looked set to put up a taking debut performance under Finny Maguire before coming down at the last.
That left the door open for Ferns Lock (4/1 – 10/1) to come through to score for Paul Bannon and Peter Flood.
The winning son of Telescope, who is also owned by Flood, had to pass every rival on his way around as he was held up in last from flag fall.
“We were a bit lucky but he has always shown plenty. He was a dear store and he’s a fine big horse who was just a late developer. He’ll go to the sales now,” commented the winning handler.
The open lightweight contest saw a small field of five go to post but there was only three lengths separating the quintet at the second last. From there, it turned into a sprint with Down The Highway (2/1 – 3/1) showing the best turn of foot to score by a length from the Darragh Allen-ridden Crazywork De Vassy.
The winning son of Duke Of Marmalade had fallen at the last when last seen at Bellharbour 21 days previously, so it was a deserved success for his handler Ciaran Murphy and rider Timmy Love.
“We went slow early. It probably suited my lad because I’m not sure how well he gets the three miles. He was a very promising horse at one stage over in England, and it’s just nice to get a win out of him now,” said Love of the Coolderry Farm Partnership-owned nine-year-old.
Come On Paddy Mac steps up for the Jackdannys
THE concluding older maiden also split with 10 runners heading to post in each division. The opening one saw the Richie Rath-trained Come On Paddy Mac (6/1 – 4/1) run out a three-length winner from the Sam Curling-trained Le Boulevardier.
The winner was providing Tom Hamilton with his sixth success of the season.
“He had a good run the last day and he has been stepping up the whole time. He has been improving. He’s still raw and plenty green,” said Hamilton of the Jackdanny Syndicate-owned gelding.
The second division of the concluding maiden saw recent Tallow second Glenavaddra (6/1) go one better here in the hands of Richie Kiely for Paul Kiely.
The imposing son of Jet Away took up the running at the third fence and wasn’t headed from there as he ran out a one-and-a-quarter-length winner over the John Halley-trained Desert Island.
“He ran very well in Tallow. The ground was very deep that day and it just caught him out. He’s huge and it has taken three years to get him to where he is now. My father owns him so if a few pound came for him, I imagine he’ll be sold,” said the winning rider of his father Richard’s gelding.
Horse To Follow
Joe Dadancer (N. Stokes):
The son of Califet was set to put up a huge front-running performance on his debut in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden, before coming down at the last. He can make amends next time out.