WINNING debutants were the order of the day on this seven-race programme, the first of three fixtures scheduled to take place at Lisronagh this season.
The initial division of the campaign occurred in the four-year-old geldings’ maiden, with the Tom Keating-trained Wade Out (4/1) creating a favourable impression in the opening division.
Out of a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Dedigout, he made good progress from three out and led before the next, finding plenty for pressure under Dara McGill to see off the effort of Diagon Alley by two and a half lengths.
The front pair drew 20 lengths clear of General Briar in third, with the Jonathan Fogarty-trained runner-up losing little in defeat.
“He is a good horse and I’d say he will be a bumper horse as there is plenty of boot in him,” Keating, who also owns the winner, remarked.
“I bought him at the Goffs Land Rover Sale off Robert Wade and he is for sale.”
Fogarty, who also hit the crossbar in the first, gained compensation in the second division, with Mclaurey (3/1 - 4/1) impressing under Barry Stone for the Gaynestown Stud Partnership.
A €55,000 Tattersalls Derby Sale purchase, the Jukebox Jury bay was never far from the pace and got to the front three out, extending his advantage when ridden in the straight before coming home eight lengths to the good.
“I’m delighted, he is a very smart horse who is by a good sire. Hopefully he has a bright future ahead and he’ll go to the sales now,” Fogarty revealed.
Given a patient ride by Johnny Barry, Slotty Dotty (7/4 - 5/2) also started her career with a win in the five-year-old mares’ maiden.
In the colours of the Good Ghandi Gang, the Court Cave bay came with her challenge after two out and soon joined market leader An Cailin Ciuin at the head of affairs.
The pair were locked together approaching the last, with the Benny Crowley-trained victor getting away from that obstacle the quicker, going on to prevail by three-quarters of a length.
“We’ve always liked her and she might go to the sales now, but that’s not confirmed,” Co Waterford-based Crowley remarked.
“I recommended her to the syndicate a year ago and it’s the first horse they’ve had. She is the only horse I have with a hunt cert at the moment.”
REIGNING two-time champion mare La Feline (5/4 - 7/4 favourite) made the perfect start to her season in the mares’ open, completing a double for Derek O’Connor.
Registering a 10th success between the flags, the Sam Curling-trained eight-year-old was given a patient ride and had the measure of Dear Ryta when she came to grief at the last.
Owned by John O’Leary, the admirable bay came home 15-lengths clear of recent Umma House victor Maid On The Moon in second.
“That was brilliant. As I said before, I don’t do anything with her, Carina Bowe does all the work and brings her to the hill in Johnstown every week,” Curling divulged.
“Derek said she never felt better so hopefully she will have another good year.”
O’Connor earlier claimed the five-year-old geldings’ maiden on the impressive Ellmarie Holden-trained debutant Ilfu Un Mome (4/5 – 1/2 favourite).
Holden and O’Connor have formed a formidable partnership in recent seasons and were successful with Intrepide Sivola at the venue in February.
Settled in second, the imposing son of Balko eased to the front after two out and appeared to have matters under control when nearest pursuer Benjis Benefit crashed out at the last.
Carrying the colours of Holden’s mother Catherine, the bay victor powered clear from the last and was 15-lengths in front of Soldier Of Rock at the line.
“I had this horse as a breaker and I always liked him, he always stood out above the rest,” O’Connor commented.
“For different reasons he took time to mature as he is very big, but he looks very special.”
The most successful point-to-point rider of all time had to settle for second on Miners Bridge in the concluding older geldings’ maiden, with Beau’s Candle (3/1 – 7/2) taking this competitive affair.
Trained by Declan Queally and owned by his wife Bernie, the bay victor was left clear by the fall of Lonesome Boatman at the last, with the result still very much in the balance.
A fine second on debut for Queally at Castletown Geoghegan last month, the Winged Love eight-year-old was always prominent under Dylan Phelan and had 14 lengths to spare at the line.
“He ran well on his debut for us at Castletown Geoghegan where he bumped into a decent horse of Paddy Turley’s,” Queally junior stated.
“I bought him for myself and a few of the lads in the yard to ride. I’ll probably have a spin on him the next day.”
IN a contest dominated by newcomers, it was the once raced Youhadmeathello (2/1 - 3/1 joint-favourite) who came out on top under Pa King in the opening four-year-old mares’ maiden contest.
Second on debut at Stowlin in April, the Pat Doyle-trained bay travelled best on the approach to two out and was pushed along to lead before the last, going on to account for Visual Impact by two and a half lengths.
From the family of dour stayer Goonyella and a half-sister to four-time track winner Blacklough, the Pour Moi bay will now be offered for sale.
“We took a chance running her at Stowlin but we didn’t have her fit enough,” Doyle, who trains the winner for his wife Mary, reflected.
“She pulled a muscle before Stowlin and had time off. We thought we’d get her to win in time before being sold, but it was the wrong thing to do. She is a right good mare.”
Diagon Alley (J. M. Fogarty): From the family of 2016 Galway Hurdle winner Clondaw Warrior, this Flemensfirth bay lost little in defeat when chasing home Wade Out. He pulled 20 lengths clear of the third and is likely to come on plenty for this debut effort.