Mac Three outclasses rivals

MAC THREE produced a smashing performance to outclass the opposition in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase at a miserably wind and rain-swept Cork yesterday.

Trained by very much in-form Noel Meade, Denis O'Regan's mount gave an exhibition of jumping, except for getting it mildly wrong four out.

He was pulling double over his rivals early in the straight and it was only a question of when O'Regan asked him to go about his business.

The winner landed in front three out and O'Regan was able to sit motionless in the closing stages as the impressive Mac Three went 15 lengths clear of Vedelle.

Meade was represented by his partner, Gilian O'Brien, who said: “Noel thinks a lot of this horse, he has great ability. He will stick to staying chases and should turn up at Leopardstown at Christmas.”

Eoin McCarthy (18), who has been with Michael Hourigan since mid-June, rode his first winner for the trainer when piloting Cluain Arra to victory in the O'Fylnn Construction Handicap Hurdle.

The daughter of Supreme Leader is owned by Hourigan's secretary, Tracey Hennessy, who is currently holidaying in America.

Cluain Arra stayed on well for her rider, getting tbe best of a tough tussle with the flattering Dreux.

McCarthy is from Athea, Co Limerick and this was his sixth success in total.

He looked sure to complete a double for Hourigan aboard Tom Doodle in the www.corkracecourse.ie Maiden Hurdle.

The Old Vic gelding cruised ahead going to the last, but the trail-blazing Bulls And Mortar rallied strongly to get back on top in the closing stages.

The ex-winning pointer is trained locally by Eoghan O'Grady, who commented: “Fitting blinkers made all the difference.”

Holly Tree, who has threatened to deliver for a while, found the opposition to his liking in the INH Stallion Owners' EBF Maiden Hurdle.

In truth Dusty Sheehy's charge scored in a canter, under a confident Michael Darcy drive. Shuil Abbey tried to make all, but the winner eased past between the final two flights and an error at the last made no difference. Sheehy plans to give his charge a shot at a novice hurdle, but indicated he would be jumping fences at Christmas.

Conor Maxwell (19), from Dublin, rode his first winner when Grangeclare Lark scrambled home in the O'Flynn Construction Hurdle.

Dessie Hughes' mare was completing a treble and was taken from 4-6 to 4-7. It all appeared to be plain sailing when she eased ahead going to four out.

But morning-price gamble Mickataine was soon challenging and the pair had a real battle over the concluding three obstacles.

It seemed to be going in favour of Mickataine, but the youngster forced Grangeclare Lark up in the dying strides to score by a short head.

Tony Martin's Best World was a short-priced favourite in the O'Flynn Construction Clonmore Handicap Chase, but won the contest with the 8-1 shot, Farmer Grant.

Successful as well in this race a year ago, Farmer Grant powered into the lead at the last for Danny Howard to beat Time To Sell.

It was a first winner for Howard since he returned from injury, having broken his arm back in June.

Colm Murphy, out of luck with Brave Inca at Punchestown, was on the mark in the Bumper when The Wandering Man scored with plenty in hand.

Donie Fahy pushed him clear early in the straight and was able to ease down through the last furlong.

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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