A BARRY O’Neill treble and the emergence of a potential star were the highlights of a marathon 10-race card at the Meath and Tara meeting at a blustery Fairyhouse on Friday week.

The day started brightly as Qualimita (2/1 favourite) representing the Walter Connors, Colin Bowe and Barry O’Neill combination made the most dazzling of debuts in the opening division of the four-year-old mares’ maiden.

A field of 13 faced the starter but the daughter of Muhtathir blew her rivals apart with a top-class performance.

Tracking the leader off a blistering pace, she led from four-out and never saw another rival coming home an unchallenged 30 lengths clear of The Secret Pearl under a motionless O’Neill.

The champion handler was glowing in his praise as he stated: “She was very good. She’s a big filly and we have taken our time with her; she has a great mind and a very big engine. She jump’s brilliantly and she’s very exciting.”

The crowd in attendance might just have witnessed the emergence of a future star. ( She made €500,000 at the Goffs Sale on Thursday).

Better luck

Harley Dunne was in the wars in the opening division and stood himself down for the day but had better luck when he saddled Jasmine Bliss (6/1) under Tiernan Power Roche to take division two.

The Blue Bresil filly was having her third start and stayed on strongly from the last to beat the front-running Deons Diamond. Wearing the colours of her handler, Dunne explained she was making up for past performances “I thought she’d win the first day and that was more like her,” he said.

Bowe and O’Neill brought up a double for the afternoon in the opening division of the four-year-old geldings’ maiden with Practice Run (2/1 joint-favourite) making a winning debut in the colours of Brian Acheson. The son of Walk In The Park cost €105,000 at the Land Rover sale and he led well before the last to win by a length and a half from Sportinthepark despite showing signs of greenness.

“He is a nice horse for Brian [Acheson] to have some fun with. He was still quite green and will improve loads for a summer’s grass - he is nice,” reported Bowe as he eyes up yet another handler’s title.

The second division was a family affair as Everyonesacritic (8/1) trained by Johnny Berry for his wife Shirley and ridden by his cousin Ross made a winning debut.

The field was tightly packed until two-out, but it was the Hillstar gelding that stayed on best of all to score by half a length from Heard That, giving Berry his second success in the saddle in the sphere in the process.


“He will head to a sales now. He was a weak horse, and we are delighted. Ross [Berry] gave him a great ride,” said the winning handler.

The David Christie-trained Bold Enough (4/7 favourite) continued his progression through the open ranks with a smooth success in the open for novice riders.

Partnered by Bertie Finn, the Jeremy gelding racked up his fifth straight points success with the minimum of fuss.

He picked off the pacesetting Everything Now after three out and scored by an easy four lengths.

Christie suggested that he has one eye on Listowel and then Stratford for Ray Nicholas’ charge.

Owel well able for Elliott team

THE five-year-old geldings’ maiden also produced a divide and it paid to follow the form horses in both.

Lough Owel (5/4 favourite) had finished second at Oldcastle on his last start and he made light work of his ten rivals.

Sporting the Crocodile Pockets Syndicate colours, the Hillstar gelding asserted before two-out and came home six lengths to the good under Barry O’Neill to give him a treble on the day.

Camilla Sharples, representing absent handler Gordon Elliott, stated: “He will be sold to stay in the yard. He is a lovely horse, still a big baby.” (Sold for €255,000)

Division two saw a good finish with the Mark O’Hare-trained Cleatus Poolaw (1/1 favourite) in the colours of his wife Sara beating Tottenham Green by a length and a half under Declan Lavery.

The Clovis Du Berlais gelding had finished second on debut in the autumn and looks a smart sort.“I’m delighted with that, hopefully he will get sold now,” O’Hare reported. (He made €120,000 on Thursday)

The final race of the day a maiden for unplaced horses was also divided to make it an even 10-race card.

Division one went to the Paul Pierce-trained Dream Boy (5/1) under James Murray. The gelding was completing the second leg of a double for the Wexford handler and received a very polished ride from Murray.

Content to take his time, the Blackhall Stables Partnership-owned chesnut was produced before the last to win by two lengths from Hold My Girl. The handler’s brother Andy indicated he would now be offered at next month’s Doncaster sales.


Division two proved to be a straight-forward contest. Barry O’Neill thought he had ridden a four-timer aboard the Gordon Elliott-trained Lightkeeper when passing the post two lengths ahead of Barry Stone and Stylish Recruit (4/1), but the stewards had other ideas.

Lightkeeper held a narrow advantage jumping the last but was green and drifted right causing the challenging Stylish Recruit to became short of room and to stumble. After a long stewards’ inquiry, the placings were reversed and the Jim Mernagh-owned, Susan O’Gorman-trained Stylish Recruit was declared the winner and is now set to be sold.

Ingenie springs surprise

THE mares’ maiden saw a field of 10 take to the track and it produced a surprise winner in the shape of Ingenie (10/1) under Eoin Staples.

The grey Blackhall Stables Partnership-owned daughter of Coastal Path was initiating the first leg of a double for her owners and her handler Paul Pierce.

Having her third career start, Ingenie was patiently ridden and delivered her challenge at the last from the pace-setting Knockaneleigh Girl to prevail by two and a half lengths.

Andy Pierce, representing his brother Paul was pleasantly surprised. “She has disappointed me twice and I didn’t expect anything today,” he said. “Eoin [Staples] gave her a great ride and she stays well. She will head to Doncaster sales now.”

Horse to Follow

Sportinthepark (M. Flynn O’Connor): This is a fine son of Walk In The Park and he was a game second on debut behind the smart looking Practice Run. He will be very hard to beat next time.