WITH the leading National Hunt riders enjoying a well-deserved break, Richie Condon made the most of his opportunities, registering his first career double at Wexford on Wednesday.
Without success since early March, the Cheltenham Festival-winning rider ended his barren spell aboard Jakes Dream in the opening Three Rocks Mares Maiden Hurdle.
On what was her debut over hurdles, the Mick Winters-trained seven-year-old was sent off at 12/1 in the colours of the Oakroom Racing Club.
Not fluent at times in mid-division, the Flemensfirth bay took closer order before four out and was ridden in third early in the straight. She improved to lead before the last, keeping on well from there to beat Trendy Lady (4/11f) by two and three-quarter lengths.
“We’ve just found it hard to keep her 100%,” Winters said. “She looked a bit green early on and jumped a bit big, but after that we were happy. Abbie Fitzgibbon led her up and she rode a great winner for me on Sunday.”
Condon doubled his tally on Where’s Bunny in the Support The Irish Injured Jockeys Fund Opportunity Handicap Chase.
Turned out again quickly after finishing fifth over hurdles at Tramore on Saturday, the Noel Dooly-trained seven-year-old was sent off at 13/2 (supported from 11/1 earlier that day).
Given a patient ride, she was pushed along to challenge approaching the second last and soon led, keeping on well from there to score by three and a half lengths.
“That was her first handicap over fences. She had one run in a beginners’ at the back end of last year,” Dooly stated. “We had a good second in a bumper on Sunday as well and the horses are coming into form. My dad Robert owns her.”
GANAPATHI made it two from two since switching to fences, as he ran out a comfortable winner of the feature, the Wexford Racecourse Family Day September 3rd Novice Chase.
A winner at this course on his debut over fences, the Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old was expected to follow-up, going off the 11/10 favourite.
Third in the early stages under seven-pound claimer Kieran Callaghan, the Samum gelding took closer order with just over a circuit to race and soon improved into a share of the lead.
He went a few lengths clear from three out and further increased his advantage in the straight, coming home nine lengths to the good in the colours of Joe and Marie Donnelly.
“It was straightforward enough,” Callaghan remarked. “Effernock Fizz (eventual runner-up) was always going to go pretty hard in front and I was happy enough to sit behind her. I just tried to go an even gallop all the way and he did it nicely in the end.”
Don’t Tell Allen (11/1), formerly trained by Mullins and a half-brother to Next Destination, came from off the pace to take the visitwexford.ie Maiden Hurdle.
On his fifth start for John Queally, the son of Presenting bounced back from a disappointing effort at Tipperary last month in this extended three-mile contest.
Pushed along to lead before two out, the John Flynn owned seven-year-old was soon ridden clear by Ian Power and kept up the gallop on the run-in, coming home five lengths to the good.
There was a sting in the tail for Power, who picked up a three-day ban for using his whip with excessive frequency.
The Co Waterford pilot was later handed a further six-day ban after being found guilty of the same offence aboard Steps March in the concluding contest, the Racing Again June 15th Handicap Chase.
Steps March filled the runner-up spot, with Secret Cargo just coming out on top under Mikey Hamill for Philip Fenton.
Not fluent at times behind the leaders on the inner, the 16/1 chance was ridden to the front on the approach to the straight. Soon strongly pressed and joined, he was left in a narrow lead from the last, battling on gamely from there to prevail by a neck for the Grey Stays Syndicate.
Hamill also later incurred the wrath of the stewards and was handed a three-day ban for using his whip with excessive frequency.
BEARWITHMENOW landed a gamble in the Country Fest Wexford August 7th Handicap Hurdle, providing his rider Gabi Bourke with his first success on Irish soil.
Previously based in Sweden, the 27-year-old Co Cork native settled his mount in mid-division, with the John Flavin-trained five-year-old returned at 8/1 from early shows of 25/1. On what was just his second start for Flavin, the Notnowcato gelding made rapid progress approaching four out and was in front before the next.
Ridden on the run to the final flight, he kept on well in the closing stages, coming home three and a half lengths clear in the colours of the Fiddlersgreen Syndicate.
“I’ve had winners in Sweden but that’s my first in Ireland,” Bourke revealed. “The plan was to just get him home and get another run into him, but we did better than that!”
Fitted with cheekpieces for the first time, Kings Keeper made the breakthrough in the Wexford Racecourse Ladies Day August 5th Opportunity Maiden Hurdle.
Placed on six of his previous nine starts, the Henry de Bromhead-trained gelding was sent off the clear favourite at 2/5 with Charlie O’Dwyer in the saddle.
In the lead from the fifth, the Getaway gelding was pressed before the last and needed to be ridden on the run-in to see off the effort of Copperwell by two and a quarter lengths to give O’Dwyer his first winner in the Gigginstown silks.