River’s smashing start over fences

GALWAY Hurdle hero Cloone River made a smashing start over fences when outclassing his rivals in the Meadowlands Hotel Beginners Chase at Tralee yesterday.

On ground officially heavy, Cloone River was offered as high as 6-4 in the ring, hardening into a returned price of 11-10.

Fears about his ability to handle the surface proved unfounded, although the fact the contest was so slowly run was obviously a help

His jumping was foot perfect, as John Cullen waited and waited before letting out an inch of rein.

Darby Wall landed in front at the third last and when Mirpour, in second place at the time, fell it was the only cause of concern for the winner’s supporters.

Explained Cullen: “Mirpour nearly fell under my horse and tripped him, otherwise it was easy.”

Darby Wall still held the advantage into the straight, but Paul Nolan’s charge eased past between the final two fences to score with his head in his chest.

Said Nolan: “That was nice, he did it brilliantly. I loved the way he winged his fences and then fiddled them.

“He will have another run in nine or ten days at Galway and then we will have to make a plan for him.

“He won’t be given a hard time and could go to Leopardstown at Christmas. The idea is to see if he can take on the Cheltenham boys in March.”

Mud-loving Eklim produced a game display to take the Listed Carlsberg Ruby Stakes in the hands of Declan McDonogh.

Always on the pace, Kevin Prendergast’s colt led early in the straight and answered every call from the saddle to hold Fearn Royal by three parts of a length.

“He’s a game horse and has plenty of gears on that ground”, remarked McDonogh. Speaking from home, Prendergast indicated that the Irish Cambridgeshire was now on Eklim’s agenda.

Myles Sutherland saddled his second winner, Jinx Johnson was the first at Killarney, when Marinnette took the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Fillies Maiden.

Fifth behind Ouija Board in the Irish Oaks, the daughter of Be My Guest eased out to a whopping 6-1, because of fears regarding her ability to handle the testing conditions.

But she made light of them, finding plenty for Seamus Heffernan in the straight to easily beat Lakil Princess.

Said Sutherland: “We were very concerned about the ground, but class got her through. She is only going to get better and we will try and get black type towards the end of the season.”

Tony Mullins’ newcomer L’Antartique won the Bumper with any amount in hand.

He was cantering all over his rivals a fair way out and Philip Fenton hardly had to move a muscle through the last two furlongs to see his partner score by five lengths.

“He grew a lot during the summer and I thought would need another couple of months”, reported Mullins. “This lad has the ability to go for the Cherltenham Bumper.”

The two-year-olds, in the opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden, found it tough going, with victory falling to Ballydoyle’s Euphrates.

He was backed from 1-2 to 2-5, but it took all of Pat Cosgrave’s strength to get him home in front.

The Danehill colt made every yard of the running, but was all out in the closing stages to hold the persistent challenge of Bective Ranger by a diminishing head.

Young Elodie was the business in the ring for the Station House Bar and Restaurant Blennerville three-year-old Hurdle, but didn’t handle the surface anywhere near as well as market rival, Urban.

Joe Crowley’s charge powered into the lead well before the turn in to trounce Young Elodie to the tune of 11 lengths.

Con Collins’ Beautiful Affair went off a strong favourite for the Ballybeggan Park Racegoer’ Club Handicap and looked the likely winner when leading turning for home.

But she found precious little when the serious question was popped, fading quickly, as Grangehill Dancer and Tadgh O’Shea swept past.

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