Attrition on Arkle warpath

CONOR O’DWYER was positively beaming after partnering Mouse Morris’ War Of Attrition to victory in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Beginners Chase at Thurles yesterday.

Runner-up behind Brave Inca in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, the former pointer took to fences like a duck to water.

He was almost friendless in the market, settling at 6-4, after being long odds-on in the morning. Four from home it looked as if the market had got it right, as he appeared to be in trouble.

“He was struggling across the top, but I gave him time and filled his lungs”, reported the canny O’Dwyer.

“He travelled super and jumped brilliantly. He only missed one fence and that’s not bad for a race over two and three quarter miles.”

Sraid Na Cathrach looked the likely winner when edging ahead coming away from the second last. But War Of Attrition was soon challenging and was given real kid-glove treatment on the flat by O’Dwyer to score by a head.

Said Morris: “He will come on a ton for that, but I don’t know where he will go next. He’s in the Drinmore (Fairyhouse), but that’s two and a half and I regard him as a two mile horse.,” Ladbrokes left War Of Attrition at 16-1 - Cashmans go 14-1 - for the Arkle at Cheltenham next March and there has been worse value! Both firms were impressed by Willie Mullins’ Royal Alphabet, who made a winning debut over fences in the Killinan Beginners Chase.

Cashmans now go 14-1, from 16’s, for the Arkle and Ladbrokes thumped him in from 20-1 to 12’s.

In truth, Royal Alphabet enjoyed little more than a good school in the hands of Ruby Walsh. He flew his fences, except for the sixth last, led coming away from five out and had no trouble beating Aye Aye Popeye an unflattering six lengths.

“He jumps really quick”, said Mullins. “I have no plan in mind and was just hoping today would go well. He should come on plenty, he was nowhere near straight.”

Charlie Swan’s Oh Be The Hokey justified favouritism with an easy enough success in the Thurles Chase.

David Casey allowed him stride on four out and Oh Be Be The Hokey shrugged off The Young Bishop between the final two fences.

“He seems to be staying better this season and will now go for a handicap somewhere”, said Swan.

Swan and Casey completed a double when One More Minute took the Templemore Maiden Hurdle.

Casey made his move at the fifth last and his charge battled on dourly to resist Lord Gunnerslake and the fast finishing Pearl Lake on the run in.

One More Minute did edge towards Lord Gunnerslake in the closing stages, but the result was never going to be altered, following a stewards’ inquiry.

Commented Swan: “He’s a tough horse, who probably wants to go further. We will give him a break now and bring him back in March.”

Odds on The Foyle proved a costly failure. Going well until cutting out quickly early in the straight, he was subsequently found to be in respiratory distress.

Sweet Kiln had punters scratching their heads as well after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the Toboradora Maiden Hurdle.

The 4-5 shot, from evens, tried to make all and was well clear heading to the third last. She turned for home still holding a healthy advantage.

But Sweet Kiln found precious little between the final two flights and was joined at the last by Wishwillow Lord, who soon powered clear for Paul Carberry.

Wishwillow Lord was returned at 14-1, but paid almost 88-1 on the Tote.

Chuckchi Country, not disgraced when fourth behind Sir Oj at Gowran Park, led after the second last to beat Multeen Gunner in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase.

The capable Mark Walsh brought Cedar Dale through to lead at the final flight to beat Camden Village cosily in the Holycross Handicap Hurdle.

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