Fullback makes smashing debut over fences

ERIC McNAMARA’S Faltering Fullback made a smashing debut over fences when taking the Kevin McManus Beginners Chase at Listowel yesterday.

Backed at 5-2 in the morning and from 9-4 to 13-8 on track, the six-year-old justified the confidence in style.

This was his first run since scoring over flights at Killarney in May, but McNamara had his charge in tip-top shape and ready to do himself justice.

Paddy Flood allowed Faltering Fullback to lead with fully two circuits to cover and the Double Trigger gelding made the rest.

He got in a bit tight to the last, but picked up in a flash at the back of the obstacle and was always holding Lucky Wish on the flat.

Said McNamara: “He made a few slight mistakes, but you’d expect that in a novice. This is a lovely horse, who is slightly better going right-handed.

“You won’t see him again for at least six weeks, because he’s light and lean and needs time between his races.”

Adrian Heskin (17) gave another indication of his burgeoning talent when grabbing the featured Guinness Handicap Hurdle on Michael Hourigan’s Turf War.

Tramp Stamp landed in front over two out and when Turf War wasn’t anywhere near as fast as him over the last, that appeared to have settle matters.

But Heskin soon had the Gigginstown House Stud-owned five-year-old battling back and Turf War poked his head in front close home to score a head.

“He will stay hurdling and go jumping fences next season”, reported Hourigan, striking for the first time this week.

Regarding Heskin, he said: “He’s very young and will probably make a jockey!” Warming to the task, however, Hourigan continued: “I think he will be very good, he has a great racing brain.”

Augustusthestrong, who cost $2m at Keeneland as a yearling, repaid a little over €10,000 when easily taking the Helena Sheahan Memorial Maiden.

He arrived on the back of a cracking effort behind the useful Dohasa at Dundalk, but the layers were very anxious to get him and offered evens.

As usual, they were well accommodated, right down to 8-11. The son of A P Indy was quickly into stride and forged into a clear lead for Seamus Heffernan turning in.

Augustusthestrong was inclined to idle through the last furlong, but it was of no consequence and he crossed the line three lengths to the good.

Commented Heffernan: “He’s a well-bred horse, who was always immature and backward. He’s genuine and, I would say, will get a bit of black type.”

The Charlie Swan yard landed an old-fashioned touch when the J P McManus-owned On The Other Hand won the Devon Inn Hotel Handicap Hurdle, after being backed from 20-1 to 10’s.

He was produced to lead at the final flight by David Casey, powering away on the flat to beat the flattering Well Run.

Said Swan: “He was pulled up the last two times he’s run, but had lost his confidence over fences.

“J P has been very patient with the horse, he broke his shoulder a couple of years ago. If getting in, he could run on the flat over a mile and six at Ballinrobe on Sunday.”

Willie Mullins’ Flat Out took the Bumper in a canter, streaking clear up the straight to win unextended by nine lengths.

Said Mullins: “He’s an out-and-out stayer and I might try and find a winners’ of three bumper for him.

“If I can’t then he will go hurdling and is capable of winning on the flat, when the ground gets softer.”

The Paul Deegan-trained Celtic Soprano came from an unpromising position to land the F.B.D Insurance Handicap in the hands of Willie Supple.

The openings came in time for her, however, and she swept up late to beat Monahullan Prince.

Trainer, Paul Deegan, said: “We got out of jail there. She is a lovely straightforward filly and anything from a mile and six to two miles is fine for her.”

The Pier, who went up 11lbs for winning at Killarney, defied the extra with a game effort in the T P Walsh Memorial Handicap.

Billy Lee made his move off the home turn, driving the winner into a healthy lead. Captain Cole and Hassanali both finished well, but the bird had flown. Shane Foley, who rode Captain Cole, was suspended for two days for using his whip with excessive frequency.

Silver Shoon, who had been a friend to bookmakers on many occasions, finally enjoyed a turn in the John And Terry Moriarty Memorial Median Auction Maiden.

This was a particularly weak heat and a very suitable opportunity. All In Clover kicked hard early in the straight, but Pat Smullen brought the odds-on favourite with a smooth challenge and she was nicely on top close home to score by half a length.

* The attendance on Kerry National day on Wednesday was a whopping 26,969, only marginally down from 27,915 a year earlier.

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