NEWS of the tragic and untimely passing of Jack de Bromhead filtered through shortly after the last race at Wexford last Saturday, with proceedings of the previous few hours at Bettyville soon paling into insignificance.
His loving father Henry claimed the opening Adare Manor Opportunity Maiden Hurdle, with Magical Zoe (4-6 to 2-1f). Successful on her only previous start in a bumper at Cork, when trained by Barry Fitzgerald, the Shantou bay subsequently changed hands for £140,000.
Settled in mid-division by Conor Brassil, the Patrick Bryceland-owned four-year-old cruised to the front before two out and never came off the bridle, winning by a length and a half.
“Alex Elliott sourced her at the Aintree Sale for new clients, the Brycelands from Scotland,” de Bromhead revealed. “Robert Power has started helping us and he suggested this race, so I’ve had nothing to do with it!
“Conor was brilliant on her, she was very babyish over her hurdles but he really nursed her around. She’s a nice mare to look forward to.”
Favourite backers had to settle for second in the Dan Byrne Memorial Handicap Hurdle, with the well-supported Kellie’s Dream just holding off Search For A Myth (85-40f).
Trained by Andrew Slattery and owned by Dr Ronan Tynan, the daughter of Yeats was available at 20/1 in early shows but went off at just 6/1 under Cian Quirke.
Having raced in mid-division, with her jumping far from fluent, she made good headway on the outer before the second last, edging to the front inside the final 100 yards. Search For A Myth threw down a late challenge but ultimately failed by a neck after meeting with some trouble in-running in the straight.
“We thought the trip was too short and that the ground was a bit slow, so we were hopeful more than confident,” Brian Slattery, brother of the winning trainer, commented. “The runner-up was closing her down and we might have been lucky to win at the finish, but we’ll take it.”
Ardaghs Choice (9/1) was a more decisive winner of the concluding Racing Again October 30th & 31st Handicap Chase.
The Eamonn ‘Dusty’ Sheehy trained gelding surrendered a huge lead at Kilbeggan last month when attempting to pull up passing the parade ring but still managed to finish a respectable sixth.
The ‘quirky’ seven-year-old was a much more willing partner for Kevin Sexton in this extended three-mile-and-one-furlong heat, as he raced towards the head of affairs throughout.
Pushed clear on the run to the second last, the Arcadio gelding kept on well when ridden, coming home seven lengths clear in the colours of Patrick O’Shea and John Gahan.
“He would have won in Kilbeggan only for what happened,” Sheehy explained. “I thought he’d win today. The horses are coming back into a bit of form now and hopefully we can kick a few more over the bar!”
OWNER/rider Anthony Bustin was ‘lost for words’ after Killoughteen provided him with his first track success in the Wexford Mares Maiden Hurdle.
Owned by the Co Limerick native along with his wife Aisling McCarthy and brother-in-law Paul McKernan, the Fame And Glory bay was sent off an easy-to-back 3/1 joint-favourite from early shows of 7/4.
Elusive Sea was the other market leader and she threw down a strong challenge from two out before a bad mistake at the last put pay to her chance. The Charles Byrnes-trained victor, who was never far off the pace and led on the approach to the straight, came home two and a half lengths to the good from Dot Cotton in second.
“I rode one point-to-point winner in 2013 and then gave it up for six or seven years,” Bustin remarked. “I said I wouldn’t ride again until I had my own horse because there’s no pressure and I can do whatever I want. She is brilliant and I think there could be another one in her.”
The result was also still very much in the balance on the approach to the final fence in the Wexford Racecourse Racing Club Handicap Chase.
Brideswell Lad (11-4f) and Early Arrival were locked together but a mistake from the latter decided the outcome. Trained by Seamus Neville and owned by his wife Ina, the winner kept on strongly in the closing stages, coming home five and a half lengths clear under JJ Slevin.
“We were a bit concerned about the ground, but he handled it okay. He would prefer quicker,” the winning handler said. “I’ll look at Listowel now, but it will depend on the ground. There are a few options for him there.”
Tullybeg too good for them
THE feature race on the programme, the four-runner Kehoe Agri & DIY Enniscorthy Rated Novice Chase, went the way of Gordon Elliott’s Tullybeg.
Recording a seventh career success, the Bective Stud owned chesnut was sent off a 4/1 chance under Davy Russell. Ridden to the front on the approach to the straight, he kept up the gallop all the way to the line, coming home three and three-quarter lengths to the good. Upping The Anti was the market leader at 1-2, but he could only manage a disappointing third after attempting to make all.
“I was happy enough to sit in behind for a bit of company,” Russell divulged.
“We didn’t really have a plan going out, it was just the way it went. It suited me and he jumped well throughout.”
A fine third of 19 on her previous start at Cork, Sean Says (10-1) went a few places better in the Download The Boylesports App Handicap Hurdle.
Owned and trained by Rodger Sweeney, the bay got to the front on the approach to the straight and found plenty when ridden by Donagh Meyler, going on to account for Florey Spud (9/2f) by a length and three-quarters.
“She ran very well in Mallow and I knew she’d run well today,” Sweeney stated.
“We might go back on the flat when she gets fed up of hurdles. It’ll keep her head right.”