The well-backed 9/4 joint-favourite, ridden by Tim Hyde, stretched clear inside the final furlong to slam Patsy Hall by 14 lengths, prompting his trainer Pat Doyle to declare: “He’s a three-parts brother to Alexander Banquet and will follow the same route as him. It’s straight to Cheltenham now.”
Doyle, who is based in Holycross, County Tipperary, added: “He’s as good a bumper horse as I’ve ever had. He’s a brilliant horse over a fence and we were going to point-to-point him. But he showed us so much that we decided to go straight into a bumper.”
What’sonyourmind earned a 25/1 quote from Cashmans for his Cheltenham target and, although it’s a long way from a heavy ground bumper at Navan to Prestbury Park, the son of Glacial Storm looks like a young horse with plenty of potential. It will come as no surprise if he’s sold in the coming weeks.
Earlier, claimer Kevin Coleman notched his tenth career success when partnering the Francis Flood-trained Giolla De to a convincing win over odds-on favourite High Priestess in the Skryne Maiden Hurdle.
Fran Flood, son of winning trainer Francis and out of action due to a broken collar-bone sustained when schooling last week, expressed his relief that the Glacial Storm gelding had opened his account but explained that there are no firm plans in place for the gelding. He also confirmed last year’s runner-up Georges Girl a definite runner in Sunday’s ‘AIG’ at Leopardstown, with Davy Russell in the saddle.
After a number of creditable placed efforts Bright Gas finally got off the mark, recording a wide-margin victory for trainer Robbie Burns and claimer Bobby Molloy in the ‘Here Comes 2005’ Maiden Hurdle. “She deserved that, definitely,” said Burns. “She needs that trip, soft ground and a galloping track. And Bobby gave her a great ride. He was as cool as ever.”
County Wexford-based Willie Codd recorded a welcome success, his first for two years, when Master Billy, ridden by Mike Darcy, pulverised the opposition in the ‘Navan Golf Club Open For 2005 Membership’ Novice Handicap Hurdle.
Codd explained: “He won his bumpers for Paul Nolan. I only have him for six weeks so I still don’t know a lot about him. But he seems a relentless galloper and won well.”
David Evans, a key member of Dermot Weld’s team at Rosewell House, was on the mark when Malthouse Master, trained locally by Oliver Finnegan, romped to a 13 lengths win in the Mannix Dowdall Handicap Hurdle.
Evans was oozing confidence when delivering his challenge at the second last before his mount forged clear of Ard Hudie going to the last. Finnegan said: “We bought him out of Michael Grassick’s as a dual purpose horse. He’s well-handicapped on the flat with a rating of 59 so we should have a bit of fun with him.”
Top-weight Eurochancer, ridden by Robbie McNally, recorded another local success in the “Nap Winner” Handicap Hurdle when ploughing through the heavy ground to beat Sixtino.
Winning trainer Joe Fox intends aiming Eurochancer at the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novice Hurdle, a Grade 2 event won last year by Iris’s Gift, at Cheltenham on January 29.