ALL roads led to Dromahane on Sunday for the Duhallow Foxhounds mid-April fixture and, on an afternoon that witnessed seven races and some 68 runners, the Mark Scallan-trained Captains Speech hinted that he holds a bright future by recording a bloodless debut success in the second division of the four-year-old geldings’ maiden.

Captains Speech (6/1 - 8/1), a son of El Salvador who was acquired for €20,000 at last year’s Goffs Arkle sale, was always quite well placed in the main group as Jimmy Mango took the 12 runners along at a decent clip.

With the latter giving way after the fourth last of the 13 obstacles, Captains Speech moved to the front three out.

While erring at the penultimate obstacle, the winning chesnut was clearly well in command approaching the last and he returned with five and a half lengths to spare over favourite Giantsgrave in the colours of Co Waterford-based owner Denis Hayes. Meanwhile, there was a further six-length break back to Orderoftheday in third.

Shown plenty

“He’s a proper horse that has always shown plenty and he’s the best horse that I have ever had. He has been very straightforward from day one,” commented former amateur rider Scallan of Captains Speech, a late April foal who traces back to former Tommy Whittle Chase winner Bobby Grant.

Scallan and Captains Speech’s rider Tiernan Power Roche went on to complete a double as they also joined forces to collect the five-year-old geldings’ maiden, the race that attracted the biggest field of the afternoon in 13 runners, with Always A Reason (4/1 - 5/1).

The Elusive Pimpernel-sired Always A Reason, having finished third on his previous two starts at Ballinaboola and Lingstown, didn’t aid his cause by blundering at the fourth last when in mid-division. However, the bay stormed his way into contention before the last and he hit the front 150 yards out to win going away by four lengths from He’s A Diamond.

Cleariestown-based Scallan was posting an initial Dromahane double as a handler. He remarked of Always A Reason whom his wife Laura owns with Michael Cullen: “He has threatened to be a nice horse, but it’s only recently that we have really figured out how to ride him. He’ll now go to a sale.”

Bloodless success

It proved to be an excellent afternoon for Co Wexford-trained horses as Sean Doyle sent out the well-supported Dawn Miss (5/2 – 5/4 favourite) to record a bloodless success under Jamie Scallan in the five and six-year-old mares’ maiden.

The Monbeg Partnership-owned Dawn Miss, a third-last fence faller on her initial outing at Monksgrange just two weeks earlier, moved second from five out and she eased to the front after the fourth last.

The five-year-old daughter of Malinas, an own-sister to Olly Murphy’s listed-winning hurdler Booster Bob, was well in command from two out and she swept further clear on the flat to contain newcomer Highbourne Velvet by a comprehensive 12 lengths.

It’s probable that Dawn Miss, a €30,000 Goffs Land Rover sale graduate that traces back to Willie Mullins’ Grade 1-placed hurdler The Big Getaway, will be seen in new colours when running again.

Millie B makes the best of it

ADAM Feeney was another to depart with two winners and the Ballyduff Upper native signed off aboard Tom Keating’s teak-tough mare Millie B (3/1 - 7/2) in the open.

The only mare in the nine-runner field, Millie B moved through to challenge long-time leader Prophet’s Corner before three out and she then assumed command from this third-last obstacle.

While drifting right-handed in the closing stages, the six-year-old was never going to be caught and she duly beat Wise Move by one and half lengths in the silks of her handler’s near-neighbour John O’Leary.

Millie B, who only commencing her career this past November, has now most meritoriously won four out of her six starts this season. The daughter of Workforce, a mare that has an appreciation for testing underfoot conditions, could now run at Tipperary’s evening fixture next month.

The 25-year-old Feeney was earlier on the mark aboard Sixmilebridge-based owner/trainer Robert Clancy’s newcomer Myfriendcooper (6/1 - 8/1) in the four-year-old mares’ maiden.

The Valirann-sired Myfriendcooper, one of five debutants in the line-up, always travelled well towards the rear of the six-runner field and she made smooth progress to challenge favourite Kap De Cerisy with three fences remaining.

Myfriendcooper, a half-sister to Fergal O’Brien’s dual winning hurdler Onagatheringstorm and whom Clancy purchased as a foal, edged into a narrow advantage from two out en-route to fighting off Kap De Cerisy by three-quarters of a length. Vicky Pollard meanwhile returned a further 15 lengths adrift in third.

Derek O’Connor

to the fore again

THE Sam Curling-owned/trained newcomer Life Goes On (2/1 - 5/2) benefitted from a fine front-running ride from Derek O’Connor to collect the first division of the four-year-old geldings’ maiden.

Life Goes On, an eye-filling chasing type who is out of a half-sister to dual Grade 1-winning hurdler Yanworth, was always positioned at the head of the affairs on the outer and he was travelling best with a slender advantage approaching the last.

The £13,000 Goffs UK Spring Store sale acquisition then stayed on determinedly to deny fellow first-timer The Blue Room by one and a quarter lengths with a four-length break back to the staying-on Only Way Is Up in third.

“He’s a very big horse and Derek [O’Connor] said that he was very green. He’ll now be sold,” reported Curling of Life Goes On, whom he shares with Aidan ‘Scobie’ Fitzgerald.

Master Of The Sums (6/4 - 4/7 favourite) came home as he pleased under handler Eugene O’Sullivan’s daughter Maxine O’Sullivan in the five-year-old and upwards adjacent hunts’ maiden, much to the dismay of the 13 bookmakers present.

The Ballycahane debut fifth Master Of The Sums led from two out to dismiss the frontrunning Lorna Yeats by an increasing 23 lengths.

Master Of The Sums represents Joe Sheahan from Whitechurch, who took over ownership of the British-bred last year on the sudden death of his brother Liam who was one of the mainstays of the Ballindenisk point-to-point fixture.

Horse to Follow

Only Way Is Up (M. R. Murphy): This well-built newcomer by Malinas stayed on powerfully from off the pace to finish third in the first division of the four-year-old geldings’ maiden. He should prove very hard to beat next time and he also holds a bright track future.