EDWARD O’GRADY and Andrew McNamara continued their terrific run when Diophas justified hefty market support with a smooth success in the Dromahane Maiden Hurdle at Cork yesterday.
On an afternoon which attracted a much bigger crowd than might have been expected - free admission was an obvious success - O’Grady’s charge did the business in style.
Taken at 2-1 in the morning, and from 11-10 to 9-10 on track, he never gave supporters any cause for concern.
Diophas, who had caught the eye when third over fences at Clonmel previously, was eased ahead by McNamara going to the fourth last.
After that it was a procession, as he bounded up the straight to beat Dbanks by an unflattering seven lengths.
Said O’Grady: “I had no intention of putting him back over hurdles until this meeting appeared. I’m sorry now I didn’t put him in the Pierse (Leopardstown).”
McNamara completed a double when D’s Trix, trained by his father, also Andrew, landed the Dromdowney Handicap Hurdle.
McNamara junior had him in front over the penultimate flight and the five-year-old found plenty to easily repel Soleil Levant.
Commented McNamara senior: “He will go to Limerick at Christmas and will jump a fence in time.”
The stewards enquired into the apparent improvement in form of D’s Trix and accepted the explanation offered.
The younger McNamara was deprived of a treble when Acapulco went under by a short head to Seven Days in the Fermoy Maiden Hurdle.
The principals had a real battle from the final flight, with Davy Russell forcing Liam Burke’s charge home by the narrowest of margins.
Said Burke: “I didn’t think he was good enough, but he improved from the last day. We will tip away with him, but he wants distance and will make a three mile chaser.”
Morning Supreme, whose technique left a lot to be desired when she won on her debut at Limerick, jumped a lot better in the Newmarket Mares’ Novice Hurdle.
She made every yard of the running for Ruby Walsh, coasting clear up the straight to score hard-held by 21 lengths.
Trainer Willie Mullins said: “I have been waiting for ages for this race and we will try and find a similar contest now. Christmas will probably come too soon, and I may keep her down the country.”
Knockieran and Lenny Flynn swept through late to beat Barneys Honours in the Ballyclough Handicap Hurdle.
Trainer, Jimmy Finn, reported: “She will have a break now, having had a good few races, and will reappear in the New Year.”
Unlucky horse of the contest was Dolly Hall. She was badly hampered going to the final flight, before finishing best of all.
The stewards enquired into some close riding in this contest and, as a result of their deliberations, Davy Russell was suspended for one day for careless riding.
Nina Carberry was seen at her strongest when forcing Charlie Swan’s Lonesome Dove home a head and half a length to the good over Special Token and Perfectly Composed in the Bumper.
Said Swan: “She (Lonesome Dove) is tough, but wouldn’t want the ground quite as heavy as that. A maiden hurdle will be next, although she is really a chaser.”
Mikey O’Connor, who rode Special Token, was banned for a day for using his whip with excessive frequency.
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