Walsh cajoles Mirpour into putting best foot forward

“HE’S not where he is for nothing”, exclaimed trainer Eoin Griffin of Ruby Walsh, after he had just watched the pilot drive his Mirpour to a narrow victory in the John F McGuire Beginners Chase at Listowel yesterday.

This was Walsh at his brilliant best, as he persuaded and cajoled the blinkered five-year-old to put his best foot forward in the closing stages.

Jack Of The Cross, always prominent and in front with a circuit to cover, made a brave bid for glory.

Mirpour chased him hard through the final mile and the canny Walsh nipped up the inside of the leader off the home turn.

The pair were in the air together over the last two fences, but it was Walsh’s strength which was decisive on the flat, as Mirpour stayed on to score by a hard-earned neck.

Reported Griffin: “Ruby said the horse hated the ground, but we are happy with him, he pulled out all the stops in the straight.

“He will be campaigned lightly over the winter, but will go to Tipperary on Super Sunday next for the Kevin McManus Chase.”

Joe Crowley’s Urban made it two from two over flights when completely outpointing moderate rivals in the Devon Inn three-year-old Hurdle.

He was always a long odds-on shot, but the reality is that any price was a good price!

Barry Geraghty allowed him stride on going to three out and Urban soon stretched a long way clear of the opposition.

Crowley was represented by assistant, Damien Byrne, who said: “He loves the ground and jumps well. We will find another race for him, before he goes for the Dennys at Leopardstown at Christmas.”

Out The Gap, trained at Whites Cross, Co Cork by Colman Hennessy, produced a smashing effort to take the Bank Of Ireland Handicap Hurdle.

He was brought through with impeccable timing by Tommy Treacy to power into the lead between the final two flights and score with a lot in hand.

Said Hennessy: “He is a horse who has to be held up and Tommy gave him a great ride.

“He had the virus and was sick for two years and has only come right this year. He’s tough, will be kept on the go now and probably head for Tipperary next.”

Crystal View, who went up 5lbs for winning a short head at Tralee, laughed at the handicapper when streaking home in the Irish Stallion Farms’ Premier Nursery.

Beautifully handled by the very promising Chris Hayes, the daughter of Imperial Ballet revelled in the ground.

She swept up to lead early in the straight and soon drew right away to beat Brogue Lanterns by four and a half lengths.

Hayes, who is attached to Crystal View’s trainer, Kevin Prendergast, has made a big impression this season and was enjoying a fourth success.

Paul Nolan, fresh from his tremendous victory in the Galway Hurdle with Cloone River, saddled his first juvenile winner when Sky High Flyer grabbed the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Fillies Maiden.

Jamie Spencer kicked on early in the straight on Ciaras Diamond, but Tadgh O’Shea rode a fine finish to force his charge up in the final stride.

Said Nolan: “We were worried the trip was on the short side. She is bred to handle the ground and did so and, hopefully, will go on to better things.”

Philip Fenton, the best amateur rider in the country for many years, saddled his first winner as a trainer when newcomer, Slipeneer, came late and fast to beat another first-timer, Scottish Highland, in the Bumper.

He has 38 inmates in his care at Carrick-On-Suir and has held a licence since March. “We have nice young horses, but they will take time”, said Fenton.

Slipeneer was partnered by 21-year-old Brian Corcoran, from Clonmel, who was having his first ride.

“I’ve been with Philip for a year”, said Corcoran. “He was great to give me a chance and I’ve rewarded him with a winner.”

Galarini, backed from 3-1 to 9-4, failed to get to grips with the trail-blazing Lake Andre in the Kirbys’ Brogue Inn-Kirby’s Lantern Hotel Median Auction Maiden.

Galarani was in second place throughout, but found little for Kevin Manning pressure in the straight and went down by three and a half lengths.

Commented trainer, Declan Gillespie: “He won nicely and got a good ride from Fran (Berry). He loves the ground and enjoyed being out in front.”

The betting figures with the bookmakers yesterday were quite disappointing. Last year, for eight races, they held €721,402. This time round, however, for seven races, the figure was €596,839. Biggest betting race of the afternoon was the beginners chase, won by Mirpour. The layers held €114,111.

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