Potts strikes early blow for Tyrone

STRABANE handler Barry Potts struck the first blow of the week for Tyrone when Dream Castle defied top weight in the Bank Of Ireland Handicap Hurdle at Listowel yesterday.

It took Potts six and a half hours to bring the gallant top weight to the Kingdom, but it paid off handsomely as Dream Castle galloped his rivals silly.

He made every yard of the running, in the hands of Paddy Merrigan, finding loads up the straight to repel the flattering Ballintry Guest.

Merrigan, from Athlone, celebrated his 19th birthday yesterday and was having a first ever ride in his native country.

“I'm with Heather Dalton in England and have ridden ten winners over there”, reported the pilot.

Potts, with four winners in Britain to his credit, took out a licence in February and he too was enjoying a first success in Ireland.

“The trip home will seem shorter now”, he quipped. “This is a horse who had a lot of problems in his younger days, but is sound now.”

Another who has had his share of troubles, Waltons Mountain, repeated the Dream Castle tactics for Davy Russell in the John F McGuire Beginners Chase.

“He's really the only horse who has genuine excuses for every run of his life”, commented trainer, Tony Mullins. “The number of things that have gone wrong with him is unbelievable.”

He made no mistake here, jumping superbly in front and scampering right away to beat Clearly In Motion by ten lengths.

Man About Town missed the contest because of the ‘ground’ and, in his absence, Davenport Milenium was taken from a little 8-11 to 4-7.

But he was struggling throughout, never looking happy and only staying on one-paced to fill a remote third.

Martin Browne saddled his first winner over jumps when Son Of Mary took the Devon Inn three-year-old Hurdle.

Last in his previous two races on the level, Son Of Mary showed he may well prove far better at this game.

He hit the second last, but picked up nicely for Paul Carberry and was always getting the best of the fight with the always prominent Ossiana on the flat.

Said Browne: “He jumped well at home and if doing it on the track had to have as good a chance as anything.” Cheltenham in November is the plan.

Favourite Zelkova hardly went across a flight properly and did really well in the circumstances to stay on from behind to claim fourth spot.

Pat Flynn's Lord Over, owned by Michael Smurfit, was the business in the ring for the Bumper and duly obliged.

Confidently handled by James O'Farrell, the Khayasi gelding came from off the pace to ease smoothly to the front inside the furlong pole and beat promising newcomer, On You Go.

Commented Flynn: “He got jarred up first time out at Cork and should improve an awful lot on this.

“If flying (in his work) in three weeks time he could run again, but it is possible he may wait for a winners' bumper at Leopardstown at Christmas.”

Wayne Lordan, fresh from finishing second in the Irish Leger on The Whistling Teal at the Curragh on Saturday, guided David Wachman's Border Cat to a snug victory in the valuable Irish Stallion Farms' EBF Premier Nursery.

For the talented Lordan it was a 33rd winner of the season, easily his best ever. Carrying the colours of Michael Tabor, the 14-1 shot did his job in style.

Border Cat and Camisado emerged as the principals in the straight, but from the furlong pole there was only going to be one winner, as Lordan drove his charge out for a length and a half success.

Michael Halford, whose previous best for a season was 29, took his tally for the campaign to 45 when Nerys justified favouritism in the Irish Stallion Farms' EBF Fillies Maiden.

The daughter of Namid made most of the running and Rory Cleary didn't have to be hard on her to hold English challenger, Ebonywood.

“We could have went to the Curragh on Saturday, but decided to come here instead”, said Halford.

“It wasn't the plan to make all, but she jumped so well, Rory gave her a good ride. I don't know if she will run again this season.”

Elizabeth Sheehan, 23 and from Mallow, was again seen to advantage when taking the first section of the Kirbys' Brogue Inn-Kirbys' Lantern Handicap on Ucanstep.

She made every yard of the running on the five-year-old, proving too good for top weight and market-leader, Dafaroun.

It was a seventh success for Ms Sheehan, four of them having come aboard Ucanstep.

The second division saw Robbie Burke continue his recent good run when powering through late on the outside on Bahrain Gold to score going away by a length and a half.

Betting with the layers, well down on Sunday, was up yesterday from €596,839 to €705,576.

The jackpot of €18,952.50 wasn't won and is carried forward to today.

More in this section

Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox