Swan in the Abbey habit

Swan in the Abbey habit
Charlie Swan

Glenstal Abbey maintained his unbeaten record over fences with a ready victory in the John F. McGuire Novice Chase at Listowel.

The well-supported Kotkidy soon opened up a big advantage in the two-mile-one-furlong contest but his departure at halfway left Glenstal Abbey and David Casey at the head of affairs.

Charlie Swan’s six-year-old had his rivals in trouble from the turn for home and kept up the gallop on the run-in to score by five lengths from Turf War, who was let down by a series of jumping errors.

“This race has been very lucky for me and I think it’s the fifth time I’ve won it,” revealed Swan.

“He was lucky enough with the horse falling in front. He’s a grand horse. I don’t know how good that race was but he’ll go for another novice now at Tipperary or Clonmel.”

The I.T.B.A. Fillies Scheme Novice Hurdle went the way of 7-1 shot Benefit Scheme and John Cullen.

The six-year-old travelled well into the straight and was not hard pressed to score by four lengths from Meitheamh.

The John Oxx-trained Alanza (3-1) made a hugely impressive racecourse debut in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden.

The youngster appeared to have her work cut out rounding the turn for home but jockey Fran Berry was always confident and she showed an excellent turn of foot to win going away by two lengths.

“She’s a very smart filly and had been working well at home,” said a clearly delighted Berry.

“It’s a tough track for a newcomer and she was very green early on. She showed a very good turn of foot. The ground was testing for her.”

Queenie Keen recorded her first win in the Gerry Duffy Handicap under an astute ride from apprentice Conor Hoban.

Sent off at 11-4 following four placed efforts from seven previous starts, Mick Halford’s filly was always doing enough on the long run-in to deny Sassaway by a length and a half.

“The filly showed plenty of pace to get across and Conor controlled the race brilliantly,” said Halford.

“She has some very good runs at the Curragh and this was her first time back in her own age group, which is a big help.

“She’s versatile as regards ground and will keep handicapping for the time being.”

Aidan O’Brien’s Pirateer took the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Premier Nursery in the hands of Seamus Heffernan.

Stable companion Treasure Beach was sent off the hot favourite but Pirateer (4-1) had matter sewn up a long way from home and found plenty for pressure to score by a length and a half.

“He’s a bit lazy in front but he kept galloping and has done it well,” said Heffernan,

“He’s an improving sort, like all of Aidan’s, and handled the ground well.”

The formidable combination of Tony Martin and Ruby Walsh took the Ladbrokes Ireland Handicap Hurdle as 7-4 favourite Salute Him won by four and a half lengths without coming off the bridle.

The Bank Of Ireland Irish National Hunt Flat Race brought proceedings to a close and saw a dead-heat between Dont Tell The Boys and Eightybarackstreet.

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