“I’ve got grey hairs since I last saw you lot,” quipped Hales, whose main business is selling, to the assembled members of the press.
The winner made most and found plenty for Wayne Lordan in the closing stages to resist the persistent challenge of Impersonator.
“That is my first on the flat,” said Hales. “He will run next over hurdles or fences, anywhere he can get in.”
Kinger Rocks, backed from some 5-2 to 7-4, stayed on for third, but was always struggling to get in a real blow on the rain-softened surface.
Useful ’chaser Mariah Rollins made a satisfactory return, fading through the last three furlongs to finish seventh.
Current lady point-to-point champion, Clare MacMahon, who has held a licence to train for five years, enjoyed her first success on the track when Brandon Mountain took the Killinan three-year-old Maiden Hurdle.
MacMahon, who has 17 horses in her care, is mainly concerned with pointers, but intends running Takagi in the Pardubice in the Czech Republic on Sunday week.
Brandon Mountain and Dreux emerged as the principals over the last two, with Robbie McNally forcing the winner to a hard-earned neck victory.
Steve Mahon’s Impartial took the Horse and Jockey Maiden at 16-1 in the hands of Colm O’Donoghue.
Truth to tell this was a very moderate event, with a wall of horses holding a chance early in the straight.
Impartial, however, forged ahead with a furlong to run to beat French import Behlaya.
The Polish Precedent gelding, bought for 3,000 guineas at Newmarket, enjoyed his only previous win over flights on this track.
“He got a little break to freshen him up and will go back over hurdles now,” said Mahon, who completed a 220-1 double when 12-1 shot Le Caro won the Holycross Handicap Hurdle.
Strongly handled by Paddy Flood, Le Caro got the best of a tough tussle in the closing stages with Champion Gold to score by a short head.
Michael Hussey lost his right to claim when guiding Pat Martin’s Sinn Time to victory in the first division of the Derrinstown Stud Apprentice Handicap.
Margaret’s Dream and Aerocom Royal dominated for much of the journey, but the talented Hussey produced the winner to sweep past both inside the furlong pole.
Commented Martin: “She still has so much to learn. There probably isn’t a lot more for her this season, it is the wrong time for a low-grade horse to be hitting form.”
Michael Grassick’s charges continue in good shape and his Little Nymph won the second section of the same contest.
The three-year-old, a maiden until this, found plenty for Shane Gorey to grab Apple Wood, who held a couple of lengths advantage for much of the straight.
Naples, odds-on in the morning, was very easy to back on track, almost certainly because the ground began to turn towards the soft side.
He travelled well and looked all over a winner when hitting the front at the third last. It soon became a struggle, however, and Carrick Dante and Conor O’Dwyer were too strong coming away from the final flight.
Carrick Dante gave Mullingar handler, Martin Joyce, his first on the track. “He’s a horse who for three years has been plagued by injury,” revealed Joyce.
Frances Crowley introduced a decent newcomer in Cheyenne Star to take the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Median Auction Maiden.
The daughter of Mujahid quickened up in the style in the closing stages to cut down always prominent Nevada Range.