Cuan Na Grai proves he’s no back number

PAUL NOLAN’S classy Cuan Na Grai toyed with the opposition on the way to landing the Supermacs’ Drive Thru Hurdle at Limerick yesterday.

Winner of the Galway Hurdle four years earlier, the nine-year-old certainly seems to retain most of his enthusiasm and ability.

He was always in the first two for Alain Cawley and the issue was never in doubt in the straight, as he bounded away from Blazing Tempo.

“If this horse was a human being, he’d be my mother, he’s a gentle angel”, said a clearly delighted Nolan.

“Hopefully, he will stay sound in the summer and we will look at those conditions hurdles and chases.

“We will then see where that takes us come Galway. You would have to think about the Plate, but he’s a bit high in the weights off 139.”

Nolan was loud in his praise of the surface provided by Limerick. He said: “There is great credit due to Val O’Connell (clerk of the course) and his ground staff, their is no jar in the ground.”

Dessie Hughes’ First Beauty, backed at 20-1 in the morning and returned at 10’s, was an impressive winner of the Supermacs’ Dooradoyle Mares Maiden Hurdle.

She made every yard of the running, under Bryan Cooper, and seemed to have the measure of the challenging Ag Dul Suas when that one fell at the second last.

Commented Hughes: “She ran well at Tramore and would have finished third or fourth, but for being interfered with going to the last. She will race through the summer.”

Michael Moran, who trains from a rented yard at Piltown, Co Kilkenny, was on the mark when Thepartysover ran away with the Limerick GAA Handicap Hurdle.

“I thought the handicapper was hard on the horse, putting him up 12lbs (for scoring at Downpatrick), but have to admit defeat on that”, said Moran.

Michael Darcy powered the winner ahead early in the straight and he soon shot clear to easily beat Ballochroy.

Vino Vino Cavo, narrowly beaten on this track previously, made no mistake in the Join The Tote Go Racing Club Handicap Hurdle for the Co Wicklow yard of Daniel Miley.

Cabernet Sauvignon was galloping over his rivals a fair way out, but Davy Condon’s confidence was misplaced and Vino Vino Cavo showed much the greater resolution for Donal MacAuley through the last hundred yards.

Said Miley: “He’s tough and improving and should stay further in time. We are considering another run before Galway, or he could go straight there.”

Penny’s Bill, a former winner of the Pierse Hurdle at Leopardstown, took his first race over fences in the Souths’ Bar Beginners Chase.

Partnered by Sean Flanagan, he recovered from a mistake five out to coast into the lead heading to the second last.

Trainer, Liz Doyle, reported: “We gave him a prep run (over hurdles) at Punchestown and up in trip was a help.

“He will go for something at Galway, but I’m not sure what. Maybe, it will be the Plate, that would be a big ask, but it is an option.”

Niall Madden gave Royal Blood an enterprising drive to win the Twilight Evening Live Music 18th June Handicap Chase.

Royal Blood was in front at around half way and then held on close home, as Amy’s Song closed with every stride.

Oliver Brady’s long trip from Co Monaghan paid dividends when Caesar’s Song, a promising third on his debut at Punchestown, landed the Bumper.

Matthew Bowes allowed him lead off the home turn and Caesar’s Song answered the call to hold the late rush of Rugby Dunne De Biz by a head.

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