NAUGHTINESSE signalled that she could be set for a good season in the novice hurdling ranks as she made a stylish start to her career over timber in the Hotel Minella Mares Maiden Hurdle.

A winner of a Fairyhouse bumper on New Year’s Day before finishing eighth in the mares’ bumper at Aintree, Lorna Fowler’s mare, a half-sister to Don Poli, took well to this new discipline under Conor Orr. After settling well off the pace, the 5/2 shot cruised into contention from four out and she brushed aside the favourite, Music Of Tara, after the last to win by an easy three and a half lengths. The winner carries the colours of Olivia Frost and her other part-owners include the trainer’s husband Harry and Peter Davies.

“At Aintree she was in season and that’s also the reason why I didn’t run her in Punchestown so that’s why she came here. If she comes out of this okay, I’d like to give her another run,” reported the trainer.

There was another decent mare on show in the Berkshire & Rich History Beginners Chase over just short of three miles where the Robert Murphy-owned, trained and bred Darrens Hope deservedly got her turn.

A listed and Grade 3 winner over hurdles who has also accrued multiple black type placings over fences, this front-running mare deserved to get her turn although from the fourth last Siberian Prince looked to have her covered. The 10/11 favourite kept responding to Darragh O’Keeffe’s promptings and when her chief rival made a mistake at the second last she seized upon this opening to take control and surge clear for a seven-length success.

“She deserved that and I’d say we might give her one more run over fences before leaving her off,” declared Murphy. “She’ll be back again later in the season and maybe next year we’ll put her in foal.”

Next year

Emmet Mullins was already thinking of next year with Its On The Line who followed up a recent Cork success in the Glenview & Rathbarry Stud Novice Hunters Chase.

The 11/4 favourite, who is owned by his trainer, looked to be in trouble in sixth before the straight but he responded well to Charlie Mullins’ promptings to come with a sustained effort from the second last. On the run-in he was bearing down relentlessly on the front-running Nice To Meet whom he overhauled in the closing strides to score by half a length.

The winner could have another run before heading on a summer break after which he could have the Foxhunters at next year’s Cheltenham Festival on his agenda. Charlie Mullins was given a three-day whip suspension for his efforts.

Direct reminder

of Tyner’s prowess

WEDNESDAY brought with it sad and surprising news that Robert Tyner is to retire from training imminently, an announcement which came on the back of the trainer’s best season for seven years.

Thus it was entirely appropriate that the canny trainer provided a timely reminder of his prowess when Direct Image landed the 80-109-rated Ryans Event Cleaning Specialists Handicap Hurdle over three miles.

A fitting embodiment of her trainer’s skills, the Michael Walsh-owned mare was recording her fourth consecutive victory and those successes have been divided evenly between hurdles and fences. Under the trainer’s staunch ally Philip Enright, Direct Image (9/1) looked to have everything covered by the time she turned for home and had the luxury of being eased down in the closing stages and still prevail by four and a half lengths.

“Robert has been my main man for a long time. Himself and Mary have been brilliant and I’d have been lost without them,” reflected Enright, who won the Pierse Hurdle on the Tyner-trained Spring The Que all the way back in 2007. “I rode my first winner for him in 2006 and he has been an unbelievable supporter to me and is a brilliant trainer.

“She is a progressive little mare and took a little while to come to herself. Robert gave her the time and it just proves what a good trainer he is.”

Enright then brought up a double in the extended two-mile handicap chase aboard Brian McMahon’s I’ll Be That Lady (5/1).

This mare only narrowly failed to land a gamble on her return from 14 months off at Fairyhouse over Easter but made no mistake this time. After the second last she swept aside Jack Holiday (who was third at Ballinrobe two nights previously) for an easy seven-and-a-half-length triumph. A summer campaign beckons for the mare who carries the colours of the Wait Is Over Partnership.

Motherway secures a first track winner

TRAINER Colin Motherway sent out his first winner on the track when the James Coleman-owned Time To Rocco (11/4) and Jamie Codd carried the day in the Mares Point-To-Point INH Flat Race over two and a quarter miles.

The winning pointer was placed in a similar contest to this at Cork last month and progressed nicely from that as she quickened well to take control of this race early in the straight. Kates Hill, who was a neck in front of her at Cork, led the chase but was still three and a quarter lengths adrift at the line.

“I’ve had point-to-point winners and I have my restricted licence about a month,” reported Motherway. “She was my first runner. We might keep going with her as long as the ground doesn’t get too hard but we’ll see.”

Michael Flannery made the journey from Ballinrobe a worthwhile one as he sent out Bushmans Pass to spring a 20/1 surprise in the colts and a geldings bumper.

Johnny Barry was on board this son of Virtual who looked set for a minor role at best before the straight.

Bushmans Pass raised his game in fine style over the last quarter of a mile though and in the closing strides he nailed On The Tide who looked to have this race in safe keeping from a long way out. The victorious six-year-old could now be sold on while the winning jockey picked up a two-day whip ban.