RACHAEL Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead have made a bright start to the new National Hunt season and they combined for a near 11/1 double with Coole Arcade and Whacker Clan.
The Pimlico Racing Ireland syndicate members were out in force to greet Coole Arcade after the eight-year-old gelding landed the Follow Us On Facebook Handicap Hurdle.
The easy-to-back 100/30 favourite was reappearing after a four-month break and asserted soon after two out before holding off the late surge of Toor Moment by a length.
Blackmore said: “We were always hoping he would be able to do that as he’s been knocking on the door once or twice. It’s really good for Pimlico Racing as they have a few horses in the yard.”
De Bromhead sent out his sixth winner in just over a fortnight as Whacker Clan, well-backed on track from 3/1 into 7/4, added to a point-to-point victory by leading soon after the last to beat Run For Pat by a-length-and-three-quarters in the three-mile Tipperary Maiden Hurdle.
“He’s a galloper and there is plenty of fun to be had with him over the summer. That’s only his third run for Henry so hopefully he can continue to improve,” said Blackmore.
CHAMPION trainer and rider, Willie Mullins and Paul Townend, also got on the scoresheet as La Prima Donna justified prohibitive odds of 2/13 in the Tipperaryraces.ie Mares Maiden Hurdle.
The Kenny Alexander-owned mare was withdrawn just three days earlier at Killarney due to drying ground but connections decided to run here on similar good going and it paid off as she cruised clear in the straight to beat Emily Roebling by a facile four-and-three-quarter lengths.
“She looked the one to beat on paper but still had to come here and do it. She jumps well and handled the ground quite well. She has been running in competitive handicaps so it was probably a lot slower than she has been going the last couple of days,” said Townend.
Mullins was fancied to double up in the bumper with the odds-on Rath Gaul Boy but the 4/5 shot had no answer in the closing stages as the John Kiely-trained A Dream To Share (8/1) made a big impression on debut.
Ridden by teenager John Gleeson in the colours of his mother Claire, the Muhaarar gelding stretched clear inside the final furlong for an easy four-length verdict over the favourite.
“We always liked him at home and John has done a great job bringing him along slowly.
“We were hoping for a nice run today and it looked a good winners’ bumper on paper. He travelled well at all stages and I couldn’t be happier.
“It’s my first winner in mam’s colours and very sweet as all the family are here today,” said the winning rider.
THERE was another family success in the three-mile Tipperary Races On Twitter Handicap Hurdle as Sweet Sting (10/1), trained by Michael Bowe for his mother Phyllis, returned to form for a third course and distance win.
After quickening clear on the run-in under Cian Quirke, the mare ran on to score by 10 lengths.
Michael Bowe said: “The handicapper gave her a chance and I appreciate that. I only have three mares in for the summer and staff is a big problem so I’m lucky Cian comes in every day. He rode her brilliantly and is a very good lad claiming 7lb.
“I was busy at home and getting disillusioned with the game for the want of trying to get staff. I gave them to other trainers to take the load off me to see what the other side was like but there is nothing like training a horse yourself and doing it the way I want to do it.”
Fame And Joy, owned in partnership by Patricia Coghlan along with Diana Oakes and Guy Culliford, just got up in the final stride to land the featured two-mile, four-furlong Junction Handicap Hurdle.
The Jessica Harrington-trained 12/1 shot, a full-sister to Commander Of Fleet, benefitted from a strong drive by Sean O’Keeffe to just peg back the front-running Drumbear.
O’Keeffe said: “That trip was plenty short for her and the ground plenty quick but she jumped really well and the good gallop brought her stamina into play. She’s improved for the run the last day and going further will bring about more improvement.”
There was a pleasant coincidence for connections of Must Meet Cecil who repeated a front-running victory of stablemate Effernock Fizz in the Tipperary Town Maiden Hurdle.
The 10/1 chance built up a lead of about 10 lengths four out and while that was greatly reduced early in the straight, the four-year-old kept on strongly from before the last to beat Minella Youngy by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
Curragh trainer Katy Brown said, “We always thought he was a real nice horse from day one.
“He ran a cracker in Naas first time over hurdles where he was a little bit green and he’s really improved. He’s very exciting.
“It’s nice for Tom (Sheridan, owner) as we won this race with Effernock Fizz in 2019. He appreciates a little bit of dig in the ground so he’ll be a nice horse for the winter as well. He’s strengthening the whole time.
“I couldn’t see a whole pile of pace in the race today. He trains from the front at home and I said to Eoin (Walsh) to go on if nothing else wanted to. I told him to ride him like a good horse and he came home like one.”