“Between 116-118”, came the response. Young’s initial reaction, understandably, was that might be a trifle high and then watched as his charge proceded to beat the 126-rated Letterman and 145-rated Sher Beau at level weights.
To say that Young was immediately worried about O’Brien’s reaction would be an understatement. “I was going to run him in a handicap next, maybe at Cheltenham, but will have to see what Noel does now”, related Young.
“For his size, he jumps well and wherever he heads next may depend on the availability of the man (Ruby Walsh) aboard today.”
Pottersway and For A Song bowled along in front, with the winner edging ahead down hill to the home turn.
Letterman was soon in pursuit and looking a real danger heading to two out. But he hit the obstacle and could never quite back on terms with For A Song, the verdict a fast diminishing head.
Davy Russell was at his best when guiding Migmatite to victory in the Cahir Maiden Hurdle. Not the easiest of rides according to trainer, John Kiely, Russell got it spot-on.
He was in no hurry, but produced the Migmatite, bred by Mick Kinane, with impeccable timing to lead at the last and beat Shazand a hard-earned neck.
“He’s a tall horse, who is maturing all the time and will mix it over hurdles and the flat next summer”, reported Kiely.
Robbie Colgan, stood down with concussion for 48 hours at Punchestown on Wednesday, missed a winner when Jamie’s Boy took the Powerstown Desmene Handicap Hurdle.
Barry Geraghty was a more than adequate deputy and he got a dream run up the far rails to foil a gamble on Charles Byrnes’ Asian Royale, backed from 5-1 to 7-4 favourite.
Jamie’s Boy was a sixth success for Summerhill, Co Meath handler Val Donoghue, who has held a licence for less than two years.
“The horse is owned by Marie O’Shea, who is Barry’s godmother”, said Donoghue. “This is my first winner at Clonmel, I’ve never had any luck here before.”
Robbie McNamara had his claim reduced to 3lbs after partnering Absolute Image to a smooth win in the Cashel Maiden Hurdle.
Fresh from a promising start over flights at Punchestown, the Dermot Weld-trained grey totally outclassed his rivals.
Pushed ahead early in the straight, Absolute Image soon eased away and McNamara didn’t have to subject him to any sort of pressure to score by two and a half lengths.
Paul Carberry got a real tune from Joys Island to win the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Beginners Chase.
It hadn’t gone right for Paul Roche’s charge in his first two excursions over fences, but Carberry had him travelling sweetly throughout and Joys Island was always going to win once landing in front at the penultimate obstacle.
Commented Roche: “He’s a good horse who wants good ground and will be let off once it rains.”
Nina Carberry broke her collarbone at Punchestown on Wednesday and was replaced on Noel Meade’s Nollaig in the Bumper by M J Doran.
The little known 20-year-old works for Meade and drove Nollaig to a short head win over Our Matti, the pair having a real set-to all the way up the straight.
The son of Presenting was backed from 7-4 to 11-8 and the likelihood is that Doran will come in for plenty of rides for Meade in the coming weeks.
The Fethard Handicap Hurdle was very moderate, but produced a thriller, with three horses racing to the line locked together.
In the end David Casey forced Charlie Swan’s Garryown Star up close home to beat Nipper John and Guitar Rory a neck and half a length.