Siegemaster stamps class and looks a ‘natural’

SIEGEMASTER stamped himself an exciting chasing prospect when coasting to a bloodless victory in the Horse & Jockey Beginners Chase at Thurles yesterday.

Torrential rain caused a significant deterioration in ground conditions and a succession of withdrawals.

But in-form trainer Dessie Hughes was understandably delighted by the performance produced by Siegemaster, a half-brother to Our Vic, which jumped superbly under Davy Russell (who reported that his mount “loved the conditions”), hit the front after the fourth last and was set for a comfortable win when nearest rival Im A Witness fell at the final fence, leaving the 6/4 favourite to triumph by a distance.

Fourth on his fencing debut at Navan, Siegemaster looks a ‘natural’ at his new job. And although trainer Hughes commented: “he did what he was entitled to do,” all observers must have been impressed by this performance.

Hughes admitted that he has no firm plans for the Lord Americo gelding, which carries the colours of Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud. But he indicated that the seven-year-old is entered for the Grade 1 Bar-One Racing Drinmore Chase at Fairyhouse, while the three-mile Grade 1 event at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting and the ‘Moriarty’, also at Leopardstown, are other likely targets. Both Ladbrokes and Cashmans gave Siegemaster a 25/1 quote for the Royal & Sun Alliance Chase at Cheltenham.

Powerstation gave local trainer Eamonn O’Connell his second win when scoring in the Vendee Hurdle, the Andrew McNamara-ridden eight-year-old proving too strong for General Striker.

“He’s not very big and can’t jump out of heavy ground when tackling fences,” reported O’Connell. “But we can get away with it over hurdles. It’s much easier for him. We had planned going back over fences, but I don’t know where. We might bring him to Cheltenham for the Paddy Power meeting. We should get decent ground there.”

Ruby Walsh maintained his fine current strike-rate when partnering See U Bob to victory in the Cashel Maiden Hurdle, in the colours of Ivan Yeats’ Celtic Bookmakers. The Paul Nolan-trained Bob Back gelding came from off the pace, had just hit the front when jumping the second last flight awkwardly but was soon on an even keel again before beating Cruising Katie by three lengths.

James Nolan, brother of the winning trainer, reported: “He won his bumper on good ground at Cork. And we were very concerned about having his first run over hurdles in that ground. Ruby said that he jumped great and would be at his best in a better race, on better ground. He’s a horse with a future.”

Bohemian Lass opened her account over fences when recording a real local success in the opening Thurles Beginners Chase.

The five-year-old Moscow Society mare is trained locally by Bill Harney for Mrs Riona Molony, wife of the racecourse manager, and was ridden by the owner’s son-in-law John Cullen.

Trainer Harney said: “She has taken to fences well and loves jumping. I have no real plan for her, but she’ll probably run in some of those good mares’ races.”

John Cullen went on to complete a double when Grand Fella, trained by Joanna Morgan for the Kartel Syndicate, won the Killinan 3-Y-0 Maiden Hurdle, the 14/1 shot being left clear at the second last by the fall of Geestring, bidding to complete a double for Dessie Hughes.

Cochise, trained for J P McManus by Shane Broderick and ridden by Denis Hogan, outstayed his sixteen rivals in the Handicap Chase, beating Harbour View by eight lengths with the field well strung out behind.

“He jumps and stays well. And it’s great or Shane,” said Frank Berry, racing manager to J P McManus, while Broderick’s assistant Johnny Levins suggested that Cochise will be campaigned in marathon handicaps (in excess of three miles) over the winter months.

On a day which yielded its share of shocks, sending a Jackpot pool of 32,044 to Dundalk tonight, the Dusty Sheehy-trained Bandearg, enterprisingly ridden by Sean Flanagan, landed the finale, the Holycross Handicap Hurdle at the expense of Lady Beneficial.

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