By John Ryan
The Charles Byrnes-trained Waterville Dancer broke his maiden on the Flat when landing the West Coast Cooler Rose Ulster Cesarewitch in Down Royal last night.
In the colours of the Vestey Bar Partnership, the well-backed 4/1 favourite pounced late under apprentice Ben Coen to foil last year’s third Neverushacon by a head with Circling Moon a creditable third.
Winner of a Kilbeggan maiden hurdle back in May, Waterville Dancer was recouping losses incurred when she was sent off favourite for the Galway Festival handicap won by Great Trango and gave in-form Ben Coen his fifteenth win of the season, leaving him just one behind leader Killian Leonard in the race for the Apprentice Championship.
A comfortable winner in Naas on Tuesday, the Andy Oliver-trained Cacique Royale followed-up, under a mandatory 6lb. penalty, in the West Coast Cooler Original Handicap, making all under Shane Foley to justify 10/11 favouritism.
In race which saw Oisin Orr and Chris Hayes walk away from an incident on the home-turn, Cacique Royal was clear and in total control at the furlong-pole before idling and being eased, which enable the fast finishing Carol’s Return get within a length and a half of the winner.
Donnacha O’Brien brought his seasonal tally, in Ireland, to 86 when handicap debutant and 4/1 favourite Colfer Me, trained by Joseph, proved a convincing winner of the seven-furlong nursery, beating Rathmoylan Cove by a length and three-quarters.
In the absence of the winning trainer owner-breeder Vincent Kelly commented: “Everything suited him today and Joseph was very optimistic, so we were confident coming here.
The Stewards tried to hold an enquiry into Colfer Me’s improvement in form but, as no authorised representative of trainer O’Brien was present, they referred the matter to the Referrals Committee.
Debutant Dark Pursuit, a Pastoral Pursuits gelding wearing a hood, gave Curragh trainer Michael O’Callaghan his fourth juvenile success of the season when landing the Foran Equine Irish EBF Auction 2-Y-0 Maiden under a determine ride by Leigh Roche, holding the late challenge of Army Recruit by three-quarters of a length
John McConnell continued his rich vein of form when Robbie Downey (who quipped, “it was never in doubt”) extricated Rockview Spirit from a pocket before launching a last-gasp effort which saw the Charm Spirit filly get up to beat Sundance Star and odds-on favourite Rita Levi in a finish of short-heads to the five-furlong two-year-old maiden.
“We were disappointed with her in the Curragh the last day, but she was a bit quiet and could have been in season,” explained McConnell. “But she has plenty of speed and guts and I have my eye on a listed race for her in Ayr.”
In Kilbeggan, where the jumps action was restricted to jockeys who had ridden less than ten winners in the last year, both Conor Orr and Michael Stenson registered their first wins since joining the professional ranks.
Orr partnered the Gordon Elliott-trained Silver Star to beat favourite Visioman in the opening Summer Party Pack Opportunity Maiden Hurdle while Stenson brought Ted Walsh’s Kildorrery from last to first to record a 20/1 success in the Pat Doyle Memorial Maiden Hurdle.
Walsh declared: “His mother was as mad as a hatter and so is he,” before explaining. “She was a tearaway but managed to win a couple of races. This horse is hard on himself but, if he settles, he could win more races. Michael gave him a grand ride – he’s ridden a few point-to-point winners and should ride plenty of winners as a professional.”
Gordon Elliott completed a first and last race double when newcomer Steel Cap, a hooded Craigsteel gelding, landed the bumper in the hands of Jamie Codd, coming from last to first to beat Russian Soldier, with Buck’s Billionaire, a half-brother to Big Buck’s, back in third.
Hugh Morgan, whose two previous successes were achieved on Babbling Stream, tasted success over fences for the first time when 10/1 shot Full Cry, trained by his boss Henry de Bromhead, battled on under pressure to keep Freewheelin Dylan at bay by a neck in the Sky Sports Racing Launching In 2019 Handicap Chase.
Amateur Eoin Mahon, successful on Se Mo Laoch, which beat Queeny narrowly, in the Book Online At www.kilbegganraces.com Handicap Hurdle, picked-up a seven-day whip ban.