THE North Down Hunt-sanctioned fixture has produced some smart prospects in recent years, with Grade 1 winners Petit Mouchoir and Hermes Allen graduating from the venue.

The trend continued last Saturday on the grounds of Dusty Mullen, as Jeriko Du Reponet (7/2 - 5/4 favourite) produced a visually impressive performance in the opening four-year-old maiden, looking a potential future star in the process.

Colin McKeever’s son of Choeur Du Nord, was acquired by Highflyer Bloodstock for €50,000 as a two-year-old at Arqana in 2021 and has since joined the ranks of prominent owner Wilson Dennison.

Waited with patiently under a confident Oran McGill, progress was made from after four-out, although there was still a gap of 10 lengths to make up with the front-running The Other Mozzie at the third last.

The French-bred bay produced a freakish change of gears from after two out, and with a shake of the reins, the gelding effortlessly breezed past all of his opposition, lengthening into a commanding lead in the process, and ultimately proving to be in a league of his own.

An eased down 11-lengths was the margin back to the long-time leader The Other Mozzie at the line.

“He was very impressive; he has shown us huge talent all along. Jamie Henry who rides him out gets off him at home and tells me he is different class,” said McKeever.

His Moira winner Tullyhill, had impressed in the bumper at Gowran Park later that day for his new owners Cheveley Park Stud.

Second winner

Dennison’s daughter Caroline McCaldin provided him with his second winner of the day in the older maiden with Ballydesmond (6/4 - 7/4 favourite).

Just touched off at this venue last month when leading to the last, the son of Presenting took up the running after five-out here, and with his advantage lengthening from fence to fence and seemingly having all other opposition under pressure from three-out, the race was quickly put to bed in a matter of strides, with a distance of 49 lengths back to Dunboy Lad at the finish.

“He ran very well here the last day, he was still in front at the last, and was just headed in the run-in,” McCaldin said at the end of a day which was saw all three of her runners on the card finish in the placings.

“It’s been a while coming to get his head in front, but he has won very impressively out there today.”

Gutsy success

Annaghbeg (6/1 - 8/1) provided owner handler Ross Crawford with his first winner of the season with a gutsy success in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden.

Although friendless in the betting market, the son of Conduit always travelled ominously well, despite making a bad blunder four-out and being shuffled back to fifth with two to jump.

He found an extra gear under Stephen Connor on the home bend, making rapid headway to take a share of the lead approaching the last, and with a slick jump, he was able to see off the dangerous challenge of the runner-up Solly Attwell to the line, proving value for the winning margin of two lengths.

Bold makes it another Christie success

IT was a dream-worthy day for owner Ray Nicholas and handler David Christie, as Bold Enough (2/5 - 4/6 favourite) was an authoritative winner of the open before the exciting Fern’s Lock made it six wins in a row when dominating in the Tetratema Cup at Gowran Park.

Bold Enough is a three-time track winner who reached a peak rating of 143 inside the rails for Henry de Bromhead, and he was sent off as the odds-on favourite on his second start for Christie to remain unbeaten at this venue.

The son of Jeremy was confidently handled by Alex Harvey, posting an exhibition of jumping throughout while putting the race to bed soon after two-out, cantering into a commanding lead and proving far superior to the recent Nenagh victor Woodbrook Boy who trailed him by eight lengths at the line.

Full credit

“We went steady early on, I just gradually built him into the race, and he has put the race to bed at the second last in a matter of strides,”

Harvey said. “Full credit to David [Christie], he a brilliant trainer and I am very lucky to get the opportunity on this lad.”

The market couldn’t separate the principals as the bookmakers’ boards lit-up ahead of the mares’ maiden, but the money ultimately proved to be well-placed at the finish as Drumlee Spud (3/1 - 7/2 joint-favourite) showed a likeable attitude to prevail for Patrick Turley in the colours of his wife Mary.

The debutante daughter of Malinas looked to have put the race to bed approaching the straight, however she faced a late challenge from Foxylee and had to be asked to find more after the last.

There seemed to be plenty left in the tank as she responded to Declan Lavery’s urgings to prevail by a length.

Tara Cove is the eyecatcher

COLIN Bowe’s Tara Cove (6/4 - 7/4 joint-favourite) battled gamely to win going away in the winners’ of one event.

He posted a solid effort in similar company when second to the impressive Focus Point at Ballycrystal last month and the Kayf Tara gelding always travelled eye-catchingly well here at all stages under a confident Bertie Finn.

Moving stylishly into contention on the outer approaching the home straight, he looked the most likely winner approaching the last with a slight advantage but faced a game and determined Ballymagee at the last, just pulling out more to oblige by a going away two lengths at the line.

“There is a winners of two at a local track of mine Monksgrange at the end of the month, and that will be his target now before heading to the sales,” Bowe said of the Milestone Bloodstock-owned gelding.

Horse to Follow

Foxylee (G. McKeever): The daughter of Mahler was well and the penny didn’t seem to drop until late, with the mare staying on stoutly into a never nearer length second at the line. She should make amends next time out.