Pride of place went to local jockey Gavin Sheehan, who rode his first Derby winner on board That Fellow for the local Castle Racing Syndicate. It was also a day to remember for Danny Mullins, who rode a double. Danny is a member of the renowned Mullins family, one of the top training families in the country.
In the sulky action, the Quill brothers’ Stoneriggs Wizard, who had won Grand Prix heat and final here last year, duly obliged with usual partner, Tadhg Murphy, in his division. Runner-up, the newcomer Flashdance, did not have the smoothest of passages, but showed a blistering turn of foot at the business end and is likely to start favourite in the Grand Prix.
Papa Joe and Kieran Sheehy justified favouritism in the first heat, winning easily from Bonkerstotallynuts. Tom’s The Man, also owned by the Quill brothers, made light work of the second heat for Donal Murphy, who recorded a double. Earlier, he had qualified Brywins Charvis in a division of the Paddy Connolly Memorial Handicap.
Evergreen, Disraeli Quest held off all comers in his qualifier. But it is the other two winners, Blackfield Scoot and Springhill Chief, who are likely to capture the punters’ fancy in today’s final.
13.2: 1st H. Lee’s Gaza Cruiser (D. Greaney)
2nd: P. Finn’s Delilaha (S. Cronin)
3rd: W. Fitzgerald’s Blue Bell (S. Fitzgerald)
14.2: 1st H. Lee’s Minnie Me (D. Mullins:
2nd: J. Cronin’s Black Night (S. Cronin)
3rd: E. Tyner’s Wild Rose (D. Lordan)
15 Hands: 1st: Islands Syn. Patch (D. Mullins)
2nd: M. O’Riordan’s Boodyman (D. Lordan)
3rd: J. Bourke’s The Sprout (S. Bourke)
Open Horse Irish Examiner Derby
1st: Castle Racing Syn. That Fellow (G. Sheehan)
2nd: R. Fenton/R. Brosnan’s Sikorsky (D. Mullins)
3rd: B/F Syn. Hidden Treasure (B. Cooper)
Open Horse Maiden: 1st J. Mulqueens This is it (S. Mulqueen)
2nd: D/F Syn. Desert Boy (B. Cooper)
3rd: M. Kelleher’s Dromore Boy (E. Lenihane)
Paddy Connolly Memorial Handicap
Heat 1: 1. L. O'Regan's Brywins Chavis (D. Murphy), 7/2; 2. M. & P. Hennessy's Little Spike (J. McSweeney), evens; 3. M. Healy's Southlands Merlin (Owner), 4/1.
8 ran: 1 1/2l, 1/2l.
Heat 2 - 1. S. Gallagher's Blackfield Scoot (R. Shanahan), 4/5; 2. Anne Hill's Meadowbranch Katie (Owner), 4/1; 3. M. McDonald's Ayr Storm (K. Sheehy), 6/1.
8 ran, 8l, 2l.
Heat 3 - 1. Caroline Salter's Disraeli Quest (A. Hamilton), 4/5; 2. Delaney/Russell's Mister Hill (K. Sheehy), 5/2; 3. C. O'Sullivan's Joe Moorsley (M. Goggin), 6/1.
6 ran, hd, 2l.
Heat 4 - 1. J. Manning's Springfield Chief (P. Manning), evens; 2. Quill Bros's Sable Decision (D. Murphy), 4/1; 3. Dunmanway Racing Club's Sharpe (S. Jennings), 4/1.
8 ran, 10l, 8l.
First 2 in each heat qualify for final.
Murphy's IrishStout Open Handicap
Heat 1: 1. W. McInerney/Anne Marie Prendergast's Papa Joe (K. Sheehy), 1/2; 2. J. O'Donovan's Bonkerstotallynuts (Owner), 4/1; 3. S. Foran's CP's Fantasy (M. Brickley), 5/1.
7 ran, 7l, 4l.
Heat 2 - 1. Quill Bros' Tom's The Man (D. Murphy), 4/5; 2. D. Daly/S. Cronin's Dilly's In Command (J. McSweeney), 2/1; 3. T. Murphy's Coalford Victory (Owner), 4/1.
6 ran, 1L,10l.
Heat 3 - 1. Quill Bros's Stoneriggs Wizard (T. Murphy), 5/2; 2. Kelleher Bros's Flashdance (M. Kelleher), evens; 3. D. Daly/S. Cronin's Home Ambrose (J. McSweeney), 5/1.
6 ran, 2l, 3l.
First 3 in each heat qualify for GP Final.