THERE were no winning favourites and plenty of big-priced winners on day two of the Mayo National fixture at Ballinrobe where She’s A Fine Wine (7/1) got up close home under Rachael Blackmore to edge out Je T’ai Porte in an exciting finish to the featured Monroe’s Live John Monroe Memorial Mares Handicap Hurdle.

Last seen when running below par at Limerick over Christmas, the daughter of Flemensfirth, trained by Henry de Bromhead for Michael Dempsey, looked back to her best and got past front-running Je T’ai Porte inside the final 50 yards to score by half a length

“She settled really well and jumped super,” said Blackmore

“She didn’t really show up at all at Limerick, I don’t think it was just the heavy ground, so even though I think the ground helped her today, I wouldn’t be drawing a line through her on soft ground.

“We thought she was very nice after the first day she ran and then she was a bit keen with me at Navan, but she was good today and battled well. It’s great to get her back on the right path and I’m sure Henry has a plan in mind for her for the summer.”

Jungle excels

Smart flat handicapper Jungle Cove (10/1) made a winning start over jumps when landing the Sheridan Electric Maiden Hurdle under Conor Smithers.

Owned and trained by Jessica Harrington, the grey raced handily and was narrowly in front of Eoin’s Charm when that rival capsized jumping the last. At the line Jungle Cove had four and three-quarter lengths to spare over Zulu Mike.

“He wouldn’t have done a whole pile of jumping,” said Smithers. 

“That was a good start and I think he could be above-average over hurdles. He’s kind of a legend in the yard and everyone loves him.”

Will It Be a winner

The first division of the FBD Handicap Hurdle went to the Richie Deegan-ridden Will It Be You (12/1) who got up in the final strides to touch off gallant veteran Father Jed by a head. 

John T Murray’s seven-year-old is trained by Liam Cusack who said: “Richie gave him a lovely ride and he battled well. He seemed to love the ground which is in great nick.

“It’s his first run of the year and you’re never quite sure, I felt he might just improve for it but he was in a great frame of mind.

“This has been a while coming but mentally he was quite immature and it has taken a while for the penny to drop.”

True or False is finally victorious

THE second division of that 2m6f handicap saw True Or False (20/1) register her first win at the age of seven.

Trained for the Glorious Galway Syndicate by Declan McNamara, the daughter of Leading Light led before the last and held Evans Secret by a length.

It was a second winner since turning conditional at the start of the new season for Alex Harvey.

“Fair play to Declan McNamara, he’s really sweetened her up,” said Harvey.

“Turning professional had been on my mind for a while. I’m light enough to do so and John McConnell has plenty of horses there between myself and Ben (brother) and he backed my decision.”

Easy does it

Herculaneum, trained by Noel Kelly for the Cill Iseal Syndicate, was a very easy winner of the Portwest Handicap Hurdle. 

Three times a winner last year, the 12/1 chance was patiently handled by Gavin Brouder and arrived full of running in the home straight to beat Tell Us This by two and a-half lengths.

Brouder said: “It’s my first time to ride him. I was a bit wide but I was on a fresh strip of ground and he was in a rhythm the whole way. 

“As long as you can keep him happy through his races, then he might be able to take another step forward.”

Magnificent MinellaMinella Hollow (7/2) made a winning start to his career when overcoming greenness to land the QuinnBet INH Flat Race. 

The only four-year-old in the field, the Beat Hollow gelding came from off the pace to beat Gers Gigi by three and three-quarter lengths. 

Owner/trainer John Nallen said “We didn’t point-to-point him because he wasn’t robust enough. We came for safe ground and a nice track. He’s a quality horse and would win a maiden on the flat.

“We’ll give him a bit of time now and he’ll be out in the field tomorrow.

“We intended to run him here yesterday but missed the declarations for the four-year-old bumper, but it was all for luck anyway!”

Successful Mission for Meade and Flanagan

THE Noel Meade-trained Open To Question (17/2) got up close home under Sean Flanagan in the KPMG Hurdle. 

Pushing along in third after two out, Mrs Patricia Hunt’s son of Noble Mission tackled Cossack Chach early in the straight and got the better of that rival to win by a length. 

Sean Flanagan said: “He’s a leary enough type but I was delighted with the way he fought hard to the line today.”

Narrow margins

Second reserve St Anthonys Corner was a 50/1 winner of the Auray Assessors Fillies Maiden Hurdle. 

The Soldier Of Fortune newcomer came from off the pace under Robbie Geoghegan to beat Struck by Churchil by three-quarters of a length  

Trainer Norman Lee said: “I bought her last year in the Land Rover (now Arkle) Sale at Goffs and I sold her to Tommy O’Donnell, who’s a publican from Gort, for a little bit of profit the following day.

“She has a lovely pedigree and I expected her to run a big race.

“She can be a little bit buzzy, so I put the hood on her today.”