Trikirk overcomes long absence to land maiden

TRIKIRK, off the track for almost two years, came late and fast to give Michael Grassick his first winner of the season in the Supporters’ Club Maiden at Tramore last evening.

Tadhg O’Shea produced the son of Selkirk with a strong run in the straight to beat Dark Artist and gambled-on favourite, Rossbeigh.

“He gave himself a knock and is such a big horse we decided to give him time”, revealed Grassick.

“We were a little worried about the track, but he was grand once getting going. He will run next in a little handicap and will go jumping later on.”

Pat Hughes’ Rossbeigh was a major order in the ring. The four-year-old was backed from 9-4 to evens and attempted to make all under Johnny Murtagh.

The English-import, he was formerly trained by David Loder, didn’t find a lot, however, when the questions were asked.

Valley Of Giants, owned by some members of the syndicate who own Macs Joy, beat well-backed Jubilant Note in the Graun Hill Maiden Hurdle.

Ruby Walsh set off in front on Jubilant Note and they were tactics which looked guaranteed to succeed for most of the journey.

But Valley Of Giants, who appeared held at the final flight, found plenty for pressure to sweep into the lead on the level under 7lbs claimer, Andrew Leigh.

Winning trainer, Jessica Harrington, was represented by travelling head-man Eamonn Leigh, who is best known for his association with Moscow Flyer and is the father of the successful pilot.

Commented Leigh senior: “They bought this horse to have a bit of fun. He will probably go for a winners’ of one and then have a break.”

Carlow handler William Murphy saddled his first winner when Royal Ranger, the 2-1 favourite, swept up to lead at the final fence in the hunters ‘chase.

“I’ve held a licence for about three years, but only have about two or three runners on the track a year”, said Murphy.

“I am mainly invloved with point-to-pointers. The jockey (Derek O’Connor) says to take this fellow to Fairyhouse or Punchestown and that’s what I’ll do next.”

Tom Hogan and Fran Berry, fresh from teaming up with 25-1 shot Common World to win the Gladness Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday, were on the mark again when Axinit took the Pickardstown Handicap.

Fit from hurdling, the winner made all the running, powering clear in the closing stages to easily beat Game Ball Ali.

“He’s a tricky little horse, but Fran gave him a smashing ride”, said Hogan. “We are lucky to have a genius like him riding at Tramore!”

Slippers Madden kept up the good work when making all aboard Noel Meade’s Copper Moon in the Directors’ Maiden Hurdle.

This was as a moderate a race as you could get and Copper Moon was taken from some 8-13 to 4-9. He clearly has his own ideas about the game, though, and Madden had to keep him going for all he was worth through the last half mile to land the wagers.

Tom McCourt enjoyed a welcome turn when Pagan Magic easily landed the 14 furlongs Eventful Centre Handicap.

Beautifully handled by 18-year-old Chris Hayes, last season’s champion apprentice, Pagan Magic made all to score by three and a half lengths. Hayes has now had his claim reduced from 5lbs to 3lbs.

Steel Band, better known as a chaser, streaked away with the Guillamene Handicap Hurdle, after hitting the front going to the third last. He is trained locally by Paul Roche and was partnered by his brother, David.

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