Jazz Messenger toys with Horse and Jockey rivals

JAZZ MESSENGER toyed with the opposition on the way to a smooth success in the Horse and Jockey Hotel Hurdle at Thurles yesterday, topping up a smashing afternoon for trainer, Noel Meade, highlighted by a breathtaking display from Aran Concerto at Navan.

Niall Madden had Jazz Messenger in the first two throughout and the six-year-old easily shrugged off Holly Tree between the final two flights to score unextended by eight lengths.

Meade was represented by partner, Gillian O'Brien, who said: “He got his jumping together and relaxed. He had a slight setback after his last run on the flat and was held up, but Noel was very happy with him coming here today.”

Thomond O'Mara's Eagle's Pass, a useful sort on the level, made a winning start over flights in the Moycarkey Maiden Hurdle. Partnered with typical confidence by Denis O'Regan, he tried to close on Lady Sagamix from early in the straight.

Eagle's Pass made a slight mistake two out, but had already taken his rival's measure when that one blundered at the last.

“He had been well schooled, but we didn't think he would handle the ground”, said O'Mara. “He will now go for a winners' of one, probably at Leopardstown.”

Gleann An Sagart, taken from 6-4 to 11-10, proved a big disappointment and was in trouble a fair way out.

David Casey, unable to ride after taking a fall at Ascot on Saturday, missed a winner when the Eugene O'Sullivan-trained Time To Sell landed the Gift Horse Gallery Horse and Jockey Hotel Handicap Chase. O'Sullivan found an able deputy in Tom Ryan, who produced his charge to head long-time leader Laoch Dubh at the second last.

“He was overdue that, having gone up in excess of 20lbs over hurdles, without winning”, said O'Sullivan. “He should take another one of these and could go back over hurdles as well.”

Ryan completed a double when guiding market-leader Benefit Night to victory in the Molony Cup Handicap Chase.

It was a first National Hunt success for Mitchelstown handler Danny O'Sullivan, who has 25 horses in his care. O'Sullivan has two winners on the flat to his credit.

Benefit Night was left in front when Forest Leaves unseated his rider three from home and stayed on doggedly to hold Riverside Project.

Said O'Sullivan: “He will probably run at Limerick over Christmas, the ground is the secret to him.”

Adam O'Neill rode the third winner of his career when Pontium beat Lemonfield a neck in the INH Stallion Owners' EBF Maiden Hurdle.

O'Neill forced Pontium past his trail-blazing opponent on the run-in, but it was no surprise when a stewards' inquiry was quickly called.

Pontium did hamper his rival near the finishing post, but he in turn had been hampered by Lemonfield prior to that and it really was six of one and half-a-dozen of the other. In any case the result clearly wasn't affected and the placings remained unaltered. Damien Byrne represented trainer, Joe Crowley.

Said Byrne: “He will have a little break now and then might go handicapping after Christmas. If we think the handicapper is too hard on him then he will go over fences.”

O'Neill and Eddie Power, who rode Lemonfield, were both found to have ridden carelessly and were severely cautioned. O'Neill was also suspended for one day for using his whip with excessive frequency.

The Holycross Novice Handicap Hurdle should have been very competitive, by its very nature, but was won doing handstands by Tom Cooper's Idealrise. Scoring with so much in hand, you could almost be excused for thinking she joined in off the home turn.

Sean McDermott eased Idealrise ahead after two out and she lengthened clear, with her pilot sitting motionless.

“This is a good mare and she will go for another handicap”, reported Cooper.

Fond Of A Drop, 19th at Punchestown back in April on his only outing, streaked away with the Bumper. Partnered by Robbie Hennessy for Dessie Hughes, the Overbury gelding swept on in the straight to win by 16 lengths.

Edward O'Grady's newcomer Daysent Man proved an uneasy favourite and ran no sort of race. His rider, Kevin Power, reported that he didn't handle the ground.

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