Ground worries forces Clonmel abandonment after three races

RACING at Clonmel yesterday was abandoned after the third race, the second division of the Irish Stallion Farms' EBF Maiden Hurdle, in the interests of safety.

The ground had simply become dangerous and the stewards were left with no option but to call the meeting off.

Rest My Case slipped up approaching the fifth flight, bringing down two others, and then The Adare Man broke a knee on the downhill run to the straight when in front.

The jockeys were unanimous that the stewards had no choice. A deputation, including David Casey, Barry Geraghty, Conor O'Dwyer and Andrew McNamara expressed their concern.

They said the downhill section of the track had progressively deteriorated since the first contest. Commented Casey: “I was hacking along next to the grey horse (Rest My Case) and the only reason she fell was because the ground went from under her. The stewards had to abandon.”

Said Davy Russell, who rode the unfortunate The Adare Man: “It was fine for the first two races, but was badly churned up for the third.”

Reported McNamara: “They had to call it off, it was only going to get worse.”

The Adare Man, easy winner of a point-to-point, was the medium of a major gamble. Returned at 3-1, after being very strong on course, he was taken as high as 8-1 in the morning.

Russell eased him ahead at the third last and Pat Doyle's Topanoora gelding led market-leader The Roney Man a couple of lengths when calamity struck.

Said Russell: “I have no doubt whatsoever he would have won, he was a serious horse.”

The Roney Man was left clear and, despite getting very tired in the closing stages, easily beat Nanny Nunny Nac. Commented trainer, Paul Nolan: “I don't know whether my horse would have won, but I am happy with him. He didn't like the ground and does nothing in front. He is rated 112 at the moment and shouldn't go up for that.”

Shouette, as a daughter of Sadler's Wells, was always likely to revel in the conditions and she ran away with the Clonmel Mares Novice Hurdle.

David Casey had her on the pace throughout and she forged clear of Tiarella heading to the second last.

She is trained by in-form John Murphy, who said: “I have put in a new one mile uphill gallop and it's making all the difference. She is crying out for a trip and will now go for a novice hurdle over further.”

Murphy, of course, also trains two mile Champion Chase candidate, Newmill, who was to be partnered at Cheltenham by Robert Power.

But Power broke a bone in his foot schooling horses on Monday and is set to be out for about two months.

“We will make a decision regarding Robert's replacement nearer the day”, reported Murphy.

Paul Carberry drove Tony Mullins' Bye Day to victory in the first section of the Irish Stallion Farms' EBF Maiden Hurdle. The winner powered ahead at the final flight to beat favourite, Sea Diva, who was on and off the bridle for much of the journey. Mullins, absent at the sales, was represented by his assistant, Peter Daly. “Tony will be delighted with that, he has always felt he was a good chaser in the making”, said Daly. “He's a big horse and loved the ground.”

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