THERE was some stellar fare at last Saturday’s fixture at Dromahane and Hitak indicated that he’s a considerably better than average prospect by capturing the open, which was restricted to non-Graded winners, on what was just his third career start.

The concluding leg of a double for Ellmarie Holden and Derek O’Connor, recent Tattersalls novice riders’ maiden winner Hitak (6/4 - 7/4) was waited with towards the rear of the six-runner field as the four-time hunter chase winner Winged Leader gave an exhibition of fencing at the head of affairs.

Hitak moved ever closer on the outer approaching the third last of the 13 obstacles and the victorious seven-year-old picked up the running after the second last.

Winged Leader wasn’t able to raise his effort at the final fence as Hitak strode clear to beat him by four lengths while Earth Furies more than acquitted himself by returning a further eight lengths adrift in third.

“We’ve had him since he was a three-year-old and he’s had a couple of little setbacks,” reported Ms Holden of her father Paul’s Hitak. “We chanced going for an open and we’ll chance going for another open now.”

O’Connor earlier employed totally different tactics when steering newcomer Frisby (3/1 - 7/2 joint-favourite), likewise representing Ms Holden’s father, Paul, to a comfortable success in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden.

On the pace

The Flemensfirth-sired Frisby, bought from Dick Frisby’s Glenwood Stud for €64,000 at the 2021 Goffs Land Rover Sale, was always positioned on the pace and he edged into a narrow advantage after four out.

With five horses holding a chance of sorts on the turn into the home straight before the third last, the victorious bay was clearly travelling best in the lead from the penultimate obstacle.

While somewhat slow at the last, he still readily bounded clear in the closing stages to dismiss Mickthesoldier by eight lengths.

The Tinahely November runner-up Well Del, having blundered two out, indicated that his turn is imminent by returning a further one-length adrift in third.

“He’s a horse that has always been a bit backward and he needed all the time that we gave him,” remarked the winning handler of Frisby, an early May foal that’s out of a half-sister to Willie Mullins’ Grade 1 winning chasing mare J’y Vole.

All smiles

Owner-trainer Terence Leonard, who of course started off Lucinda Russell’s Grade 1-winning mare Apple Away in points during the 2022 spring campaign, was all smiles following the success of Sampoet (7/2 – 11/4) in the closing five-year-old and upwards adjacent hunts maiden for novice riders.

This race was incidentally sponsored by the Tribes, Royals & Rebels Syndicate, on the mark with Louis Archdeacon’s Another Ocana in the handicap hurdle at Limerick the previous afternoon, in memory of their former member Pat Carey who died two years previously.

Sampoet, who finished an excellent fourth to Lonesome Boatman at Lingstown in late November, benefitted from a canny front-running ride from Andy Burke-Ott.

Having jumped right-handed at the fourth last, Sampoet appeared to have a battle in store when three challengers loomed in his wing mirrors on the run to two out. The son of Urban Poet was however much the quicker in the air over this second-last fence and he stormed clear on the flat to dismiss Out Of The Park by an increasing 12 lengths. Sampoet is now likely to contest a winners’ race.

Masque reveals lots of potential

PROCEEDINGS opened with the four-year-old mares’ maiden and handler Mark O’Hare, successful in this race 12 months ago with Spindleberry, sent out his wife Sara’s seasonal debutante Madame Masque (5/4 - 2/1 favourite) to oblige in the hands of Declan Lavery.

Madame Masque, having finished a fine third in a Fairyhouse maiden point last April, was always positioned at the head of affairs with runner-up Taketwotoone and she asserted from the last to oblige by five lengths.

The newcomer Grainne A Chroi had closed to within three lengths of the front pair when unseating at the last in third spot.

O’Hara indicated that the Masked Marvel-sired Madame Masque, a €35,000 Derby sale acquisition, out of a half-sister to Edward O’Grady’s former Grade 1-winning novice hurdler Shot From The Hip, is now likely to be sold.

Co Westmeath-based trainer-breeder James Kiernan struck with Dancetilldawn (3/1 - 4/1) in the five and six-year-old mares’ maiden.

Dancetilldawn, having finished second in this race last term, took the measure of Cahirdown Lass with regular partner Thomas Geoghegan on the approach to the final fence to oblige by three lengths in the colours of Kiernan’s wife, Brigid.

It’s likely that Dancetilldawn, a half-sister to last season’s Aintree Foxhunters fifth Time Leader, will now run in a winners’ race.

It’ll pay to be Good N’ Kind

THE Colin Motherway-trained Good N’ Kind (4/1 - 3/1 joint-favourite) indicated that a bright track career awaits by destroying the opposition under Brian Lawless in the four-year-old geldings’ maiden.

Good N’ Kind, who made a pleasing debut by coming fourth to Rosscahill at Boulta a little under three weeks earlier, disputed the running with Chesnut Grove until setting sail for home after four out and the winning son of Arctic Cosmos had his toiling rivals well and truly on the stretch approaching the third last.

The winning bay was well in command two out, holding in the region of a 15-length advantage at the time, and he powered further clear to contain Whispering Dancer by 28 lengths in the colours of the Good N Kind Partnership that includes breeder Mark Landers, captain of the 1999 Cork All-Ireland winning hurling team.

“He has always been a very nice horse, but has been just a bit babyish,” said Motherway of Good N’ Kind, a half-brother to eight-time track-winning mare Getaway Queen from the same family as dual German Group 1 winner and subsequently successful stallion Germany.

“He was green in Boulta, but he still galloped all the way to the line there. I think that he has a serious engine and he will probably now be sold.”

Horse to follow

Grainne A Chroi (Miss M. Harding): This homebred newcomer by Mount Nelson, a half-sister to John Queally’s dual bumper winning mare Gaillimh A Run, made swift progress from off the pace to be lying a close third when unseating at the last in the four-year-old mares’ maiden. She appears well up to track standard.