Times makes up for Punchestown disappointment

JT MCNAMARA and Damian Murphy both partnered doubles at the Muskerry Foxhounds point-to-point meeting at Dromahane yesterday.

McNamara completed his brace by collecting the open lightweight with the Eugene O’Sullivan-trained Arctic Times. Sporting the familiar Hedgehunter colours of Trevor Hemmings.

Arctic Times (5/4) led travelling well after the fourth last. There was only going to be one outcome from two out with the victorious nine-year-old ultimately accounting for Liz Doyle’s Sober Performance by fifteen lengths.

Arctic Times, which ran with the aid of cheek-pieces, had pulled-up in the Champion Hunters Chase at Punchestown just four days previously. O’Sullivan remarked: “He seems to be a better horse in ‘points’. He will probably run at Bartlemy in two weeks time.”

Former five times champion McNamara had earlier teamed-up with TJ Nagle to win the first division of the five-year-old geldings maiden with Just For Men (5/4-evens). An excellent fourth on his previous outing in Lismore, the grey Just For Men powered to the front after three out to beat Which Way Now by a length and a half.

Damian Murphy won both sections of the closing five-year-old mare’s maiden. He guided the Thomas Carver-trained Samsons Daughter (evens) to victory in the first heat. Samsons Daughter, runner-up on her debut at Liscarroll, made virtually all to deny I’m A Believer by six lengths.

Murphy, on course for his best ever season, rode his 31st winner of the campaign aboard Indicate (2/1) in the second part of this concluding conest. The Louis Archdeacon-trained Indicate gamely maintained the momentum to see-off the flattering Flipandchip by three lengths.

Eugene O’Sullivan completed a double of his own as the ultra-consistent Chapel Cross (3/1) returned to the coveted number one slot with Brendan O’Sullivan in the first section of the six-year-old and upwards geldings maiden.

Trainer Philip Fenton continued his good run by sending out the recent Kilmallock runner-up Mr Bashir (5/2) to triumph with Brian O’Connell in the second part of this older horses maiden. Mr Bashir is owned by Philip Hickey in partnership with fellow Dublinder Kevin Murphy.

Liam Burke rarely leaves any meeting empty-handed and the Glengoura operator was on the mark with Prideoftheyankees (7/4) in the first heat of the two and a half mile four-year-old maiden.

Prideoftheyankees, representing Jerry O’Mahoney from Carrigtwohill, gamely asserted with Colman Sweeney inside the final 50 yards to repel the promising Bandits Benefit by a half length.

Meanwhile, Brian Hassett overcame some slight interference on the run to the final fence to land the second division of this opening contest with debutant Core Drilling (7/1), whom his father Donie trains for John Higgins from Limerick.

Digital Fortress (7/2), whom Mick Aherne handles for Fethard-domiciled vet John Hally, atoned for occupying the runner-up berth on his previous two outings by capturing the second section of the five-year-old geldings maiden under Mark Cahill.

Meanwhile, Tiffiny Gale (evens) hardly ever came out of a canter when beating Sandy Gold by a comprehensive ten lengths with James Sheehan in the ‘winners of two’. Tiffiny Gale, a fine third at this same venue two weeks previously, is trained by Castlemartyr-based Victor Clifford for Esther Dineen from Ladysbridge.

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