Magnetic rug works a treat for Scarthy Lad as Harchibald disappoints

CHAMPION Hurdle aspirant Harchibald proved hugely disappointing when trailing in fourth of five behind Scarthy Lad in the Tipperary Hurdle at Tipperary yesterday.

He travelled well through the contest, but found nothing on the testing ground when asked to raise his game by Paul Carberry approaching the second last.

Scarthy Lad had taken a firm grip on proceedings at this stage and only had to pop the final two for Barry Geraghty to beat Maralan unextended by five and a half lengths.

The eight-year-old was giving trainer, Thomas O'Leary, a welcome change of luck. “He often runs his races even before they start and we tried to make him think he wasn't even at a racecourse”, reported O'Leary. “We have been using a magnetic rug given to us by John McNamara from Skibbereen. He has only been wearing it two weeks, but I think it definitely helps.”

Cashmans eased Harchibald from 10-1 to 14-1 for the Champion Hurdle. You can have 50-1 off the firm if you fancy Scarthy Lad.

Kalderon, who got off the mark over flights in a maiden at Listowel, toyed with the opposition in the Grade Three Kevin McManus Bookmaker Joe Mac Novice Hurdle.

The imposing Big Shuffle gelding scored in a canter as well at Listowel, but his jumping left plenty to be desired on that occasion.

It was far slicker here and the progressive sort has a real future at this game. He cruised past front-running Mill House Girl between the final two flights and though awkward at the last, when the only priority was to get to the other side, he crossed the line hard held and five lengths to the good.

“I'm a lucky man to have a horse like him”, commented trainer, Tom Hogan. “His jumping was much better today and he may now go to Cheltenham for the November meeting.

“He will probably get a mid-winter break, but the plan remains the same, the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.” Cashmans clipped him in to 25-1, from 33's, for that contest.

Dandy Nicholls, long recognised as a genius with sprinters, did it again when Peace Offering landed the Listed five furlongs Abergwaun Stakes.

“That's why I'm not in Paris”, quipped Nicholls in the winner's enclosure. Osterhase, friendless in the market because of the heavy surface, made a lot of the running, but Peace Offering surged past just inside the furlong pole to score by a length.

“I didn't know if he'd handle the ground, but he did it well”, said Nicholls. “He's had a hard season and that's it now for him.”

The six-year-old was partnered by the trainer's son, Adrian, who was enjoying his third win in Ireland.

Brendan Duke, a Dubliner training in England, enjoyed a first success in his native country when 20-1 shot Zafonical Storm turned over long odds-on Aidan O'Brien-trained Chinese Whisper in the El Gran Senor Stakes.

David Moran made it a real test of stamina on the winner and Chinese Whisper, hammered through all the rates from 4-5 in the morning, could never get in a blow.

“He's a good colt, I'm so delighted”, said Duke. “He is seriously progressing, but won't run again this season. We have something to look forward to for next season at ten furlongs.”

Duke, who buried his father last week, completed a mixed double when Openide was too good for the home team in the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Like-A-Butterfly Novice Chase.

One Cool Cookie, so impressive at Listowel, was backed as if defeat was out of the question, 9-10 from 11-8. He tried to make all, but constantly jumped away to his right and eventually that very much took its toll. He was headed at the last by the winner, who forged away on the flat, with the always prominent Rights Of Man depriving the hot-pot of the runner-up berth.

“This is a wonderful, wonderful day for me”, exclaimed Duke. “He's not very big, but is a really serious horse. Long-term we will have to look at the SunAlliance Novices' Chase.”

John Oxx's Noelani battled on strongly to land the Group Three Coolmore Stud Home Of Champions Concorde Stakes. Driven into the lead over a furlong down by Fran Berry, she held on close home as Ugo Fire tried to close. Said Oxx: “That's her last run, she retires to stud now. She has been a bit unlucky this season and I thought her chance was gone.”

Berry was suspended for two days, having been found guilty of using his whip with excessive frequency.

G'Day Mate, successful on fast ground on this track in June, made a winning reappearance in the Bumper.

Owned by J P McManus, the son of Taipan never really settled for J P Magnier, but found enough in the closing stages to beat Desert Abbey a head.

“He was a bit keen, but showed he handled that ground”, said trainer, John Kiely. “He will run over hurdles in about a month's time.”

Shay Barry gave Spes Ultima a particularly good drive to take the Time For A Run Handicap Hurdle.

In front four out, Barry kept Colm Murphy's Aahsaylad gelding going in tremendous fashion in the straight to resist Pacolet and Nine O.

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