THE annual post-Christmas Duhallow-Kanturk meeting took place at Dromahane on Friday and Mark O’Hare, whose previous visit to the north Cork course came when he steered a certain Honeysuckle to victory in April 2018, sent out his wife Sara’s newcomer Spindleberry to win the four-year-old mares’ maiden,

The well-supported Spindleberry (3/1 - 2/1 favourite) was always positioned close to the pace as recent Borris House runner-up Carrig Kate tried to make all.

The victorious daughter of Policy Maker, an €11,000 graduate of the 2021 Tattersalls Ireland May Sale, eased through for Noel McParlan to pick up the running two out.

The patiently ridden Easy To Follow went second at the final fence, where she was none too fluent, and Maike Magnussen’s charge closed down the eventual winner inside the final 50 yards to be beaten just a short head into second spot.

“She’s a mare with an old-fashioned head that has nice ways about her,” said handler O’Hare of Spindleberry, a late-May foal that traces back to Grade 1 Arkle Trophy Chase winner Champleve.

Owner-trainer Mikey Kennedy (4/1 - 6/1) appears to have a nice prospect in River Voyage who readily put his rivals to the sword in a truly run renewal of the four-year-old geldings’ maiden.

The Knockmullen House runner-up Daring Plan took the 13 runners along until the eye-filling Park The Giant joined issue on the descent after four out.

The latter in turn was overtaken after the third-last by River Voyage, who came a fine fourth on his previous start at Ballindenisk last month.

The winning son of Ol’ Man River, a €15,500 acquisition at the 2021 Tattersalls Ireland May Sale, was clearly in command on the approach to the final fence as Johnny Barry’s mount forged clear to beat Insouciant Dallier by an increasing eight lengths.

Park The Giant, meanwhile, shaped more than respectably by securing the minor honours, a further one and a half lengths adrift.

“He’s a horse that has always shown plenty and I probably shouldn’t have run him in the spring. He has been mentally that little bit immature and he’ll probably go to the sales now,” remarked 20-horse handler Kennedy of River Voyage, whose dam is a half-sister to Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris winner Khalkevi.

Kennedy incidentally also won a division of this same race 12 months ago with Weveallbeencaught, who has since triumphed on two out of his three starts for Nigel Twiston-Davies in addition to finishing third behind Hermes Allen in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham’s November fixture.

Rob James partnered an initial winner for owner-trainer Roisin Hickey aboard Robert D’Ores (6/1 - 8/1) in an incident-packed five-year-old geldings’ maiden.

Headcorn jumped into the lead at the fifth last of the 13 obstacles and Michael Phillips’ charge still held the call when departing two out, a fence that also claimed Beeverstown Place.

The patiently ridden Robert D’Ores, runner-up on his initial outing at Curraghmore last Easter, was left in front at this penultimate obstacle.

Harper Valley soon made his into pole position only to then fall when holding a fractional advantage over the victorious grey at the last. Robert D’Ores duly took advantage by crossing the line with 16 lengths to spare over the Corbeagh House third John The Spark.

Hickey’s husband Thomond O’Mara alluded to Robert D’Ores as a soft-ground horse and the close relation to French Grade 1 jumps winner Goliath Du Berlais is now likely to be sold.

McGoldrick grabs chance to shock in open

SOME have been bemoaning, both quietly and not so quietly, the fact that an increasing number of graded winning horses have been running in opens this season.

It was consequently extremely disheartening to see that just two horses from an original entry of 18 went to post in the open, a race that was restricted to horses that hadn’t won in graded company on the racetrack.

First winner

All of this will have mattered little to Cara McGoldrick as the 21-year-old from Portglenone rode a very first career winner aboard Ellen Doyle’s Woodbrook Boy (3/1 - 4/1) who caused one of the shocks of the year by getting the better of long odds-on shot Aloneamongmillions.

The jolly set off in front and all seemed to be going according to plan until he started emitting distress signals under Pa King approaching the third-last.

In command

Woodbrook Boy, a former three-time track winner when under the care of ‘Shark’ Hanlon, eased past two out and the son of Doyen was always in command thereafter as he stayed on purposefully to oblige by two lengths in the colours of the Baltimore Stables Syndicate.

McGoldrick presently rides out for both Ellen Doyle and Colin McKeever.

Three counties celebrate an Ocana success

THE true spirit of point-to-pointing was witnessed in the adjacent maiden for novice riders as Louis Archdeacon’s Another Ocana (5/4 - 11/8) returned to a rapturous reception on winning the three-runner contest.

The Gatlan Boy set off with the intention of making all and the market leader still held the call when Another Ocana, runner-up in another adjacent contest at this same venue in November, loomed up almost alongside three out.

The Gatlan Boy still held the advantage when slow at the last, but he was then unable to cope with Another Ocana as Cal Shine’s mount forged past to score by half a length, with the pair being the only finishers.

Another Ocana, representing the nine-member Tribes Royals and Rebels Syndicate, could now run at tomorrow’s Aghabullogue fixture.

The Liam Burke-trained Imperial Valley (5/4 - 6/4 favourite) went one better than she did behind Lady Kate on her previous start at Boulta 19 days earlier by landing the five- and six-year-old mares’ maiden.

Imperial Valley went for home with Mikey O’Connor from five out and the Toss Byrne-owned chesnut returned with two lengths to spare over Dancetilldawn.

Horse to follow

Harper Valley (J. Neilan): This newcomer by Leading Light appeared the most likely winner of the five-year-old geldings’ maiden until falling at the last.

None the worse for his tumble, the strongly built bay, who traces back to Irish Derby winner Malacate, is likely to win on the track.