Conna Castle crowns great season with smooth success

CONNA CASTLE rounded off an excellent campaign with a smooth success in the Laurels Bar Hurdle at Killarney last night.

“He goes straight out on grass now and will come back over fences next season,” said Jimmy Mangan of his exciting prospect.

Outlaw Princess set a decent gallop, but Barry Geraghty always had him covered and Conna Castle, owned by the four-member Kings Syndicate from Dungarvan, cruised past coming away from three out to score with his head in his chest.

“We hope he will develop into a Cheltenham Arkle horse,” said Mangan. “I won’t be in any hurry bringing him back in and the likelihood is that he will run again next November.

“I bought him for 12,000 Guineas at Goffs Tattersalls Sales and will never forget what the auctioneer said that day. He said “Jimmy this is your lucky day.”

Laura Hourigan, fresh from winning a ladies race on Pine Valley here on Sunday, had her colours carried to victory for the first time when Flying Johnny M, trained by her father, Michael, took the McSweeney Arms Maiden Hurdle.

The six-year-old was brought with a perfectly timed challenge by Andrew McNamara to ease past the flattering Treacle after the last and score by a comfortable two and a half lengths.

Commented Hourigan senior: “He couldn’t win a point-to-point. He handles all ground and will keep going through the summer.”

Killeagh, Co Cork handler, Joseph Hennessy, was on the mark when 16-1 shot Lucy May won the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Beginners Chase.

The Supreme Leader mare and Tommy Treacy got the best of a tough tussle with Tushna over the last three fences to score by a length and a half.

“She likes soft ground, we were delighed to see the rain,” said Hennessy. “She has been covered by Brian Boru, but will run again.”

Tushna was, however, disqualified, having failed to draw the correct weight. Jockey, Paddy Flood, weighed in 16lbs light.

The lead cloth was subsequently found in the stable yard with trainer Seamus Braddish accepting he must have forgotten to include it at the time of saddling. Braddish was fined €250.

Ransboro, a great servant to Charlie Swan, stayed on doggedly for Michael Darcy to win the Europe Hotel Handicap Chase.

Darcy went on after the fourth last and it looked to be plain sailing for most of the straight.

But both Strong Project and Livingstonebramble were doing sterling work at the end and Ransboro crossed the line with only half a length and a neck to spare.

“He is meant to go to the sales at Doncaster,” reported Swan.

The John Murphy trained Ciao streaked away with the Irish Stallion Farms' EBF Fillies Median Auction Maiden, in the hands of Danny Grant.

She led just under the two furlong pole and had no trouble coping with the weak challenge of market-leader, Dissitation.

“She was due that, but I was worried about the ground,” remarked Murphy.

Dermot Weld took his total for the season to 16 when Majestic Concorde won the Derrinstown Stud Apprentice Handicap.

Light in the market, he shot to the front inside the furlong pole to easily beat Sue Princess.

Buddy Man held on for dear life close home to land the Killarney Vintners’ Handicap.

Chris Geoghegan powered him ahead with less than a furlong to run, but he was being rapidly closed down in the dying strides by Rosmaire.

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