Callow Lake strikes a blow for four-year-olds

THE rapidly improving Callow Lake struck a blow for the four-year-olds when leading his rivals a merry dance in the Nire Hurdle at Clonmel yesterday.

He was a big order morning prices, from 9-2, but a drifter on-course, as some major wagers went west on Tuppenny Cody.

Tony Mullins’ gelding was a huge punt from 5-2 to 5-4 but, after attempting to make all, dropped away tamely when headed by Callow Lake four out.

Mark Grant soon had matters well in control and Callow Lake galloped on relentlessly to beat Michael Mor with plenty in hand.

Lathered in sweat going round the ring before the contest, trainer, David Wachman, said: “That’s the way he is, I would have been worried if he didn’t sweat.

“We didn’t make enough use of him at Navan on Saturday (third to Silk Screen). He’s a tough little horse, who will mix hurdles and flat for the summer.”

The new Michael Kinane-John Oxx alliance enjoyed their first success of the season on home soil when Sahara Sonnet outbattled Spring Opera in the Irish Stallion Farms’ Fillies Maiden.

She swept on off the home turn, but was headed inside the furlong pole by Spring Opera. It was the Sahara Sonnet, however, who showed the greater resolution in the closing stages.

“I was pessimistic coming, this was a better race than your usual country maiden”, said Oxx. “As a half-sister to Sahara Slew (won Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot) it is important she improves her record in Listed company.”

Brian Nolan’s Time On Your Side landed a little touch in the Templemore Handicap, having been taken from 16-1 to 10’s.

Strongly handled by David Moran, the daughter of Revoque powered through late to grab the flattering pair, Slightly Shifty and Heroism.

“She improved a lot from two to three”, said Nolan. “She’s the ninth foal of her dam and the first eight had already won.

“She will have a break now of five or six weeks and then we’ll try and find another 0-50 somewhere. Jumping will be her game and we won’t be in any hurry.”

Berkley, having only his second run for Pat Verling and nibbled at in the ring, beat market leader Coolnahilla cosily in the Ardfinnan Handicap Chase.

The capable Mark Walsh sent him for glory approaching the home turn and Berkley survived a blunder at the last to score by two lengths.

“He came on for his last run at Tramore and was fresh and well in himself”, reported Verling. “Hopefully, we will do a little bit more with him.”

The stewards inquired into the apparent improvement in form of Berkley and accepted the explanation offered.

Robbie Osborne’s La Mandragola landed some decent bets in the Slievenamon Maiden Hurdle, finding 2-1 from 3’s.

David Maher sent him on turning in and this winner of two races on the level in Dubai appeared to be holding favourite, Major Burns, when that one pecked at the back of the penultimate obstacle.

“He’s bred to win a Triple Crown and let’s hope has a future over jumps”, commented Osborne.

“He was bought with chasing in mind, and will go down that road at some stage, but will run next in a winners of one at Punchestown.”

Niall Halley, from Piltown and a 22-year-old student in Waterford, rode his first winner when guiding Boom Economy to take the Comeragh Beginners Chase. He too was having a second outing for a new handler, Paul Roche, having previously been in the care of John Berry.

Boom Economy led before the straight and was always holding Corston Jigthyme over the final two fences.

“I only have him six weeks and would like to take take him to Fairyhouse now for a day out”, said Roche.

Minaun Heights, sweetened up with some schooling sessions over jumps for the winter, bounded away with the Mountain Handicap.

Indeed, she could be mapped as the likely winner a fair way out, quickening clear from well over a furlong down to credit Pat Shananahn with his initial success of the campaign.

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