Caim makes pleasing comeback, but plans fluid

CAIM HILL, off the track since September, and On The Way Out, ninth in the Pierse Hurdle at Leopardstown, dead-heated at the end of a thriller for the Listed Surehaul Mercedes Novice Hurdle at Clonmel yesterday.

Just how the form will stand up, however, is anybody’s guess. Even accepting that two miles and six, in very testing conditions, took a lot of getting, they literally walked for much of the journey and all five contestants were on the bridle down hill to the turn in.

On The Way Out edged ahead approaching the second last, but got in tight to the final flight and Caim Hill and Brian O’Connell rushed up to share the prize in the dying strides.

Philip Fenton reported of Caim Hill: “We were expecting a nice run, but didn’t expect to win.

“We gave him a break after he won at Galway, but then he got a colic and nearly died, it was 50-50.

“He should improve a lot for the run and seems to go on any ground. He’s in the Ballymore Properites at Cheltenham, but at the moment we have no plans.”

On The Way Out’s trainer, John Kiely, confined himself to saying: “I don’t think he’s a Cheltenham horse.”

Thomas O’Leary continued his terrific run of success when the imposing Hurricane Carter followed up his Gowran Park victory in the Kilcash Chase.

Partnered by Davy Russell, Hurricane Carter made all the running, surviving a blunder two out to beat the fast-finishing Dooneys Gate by two and a half lengths.

“Navan on Sunday week for a three mile novice chase is what I have in mind”, revealed O’Leary.

“We want him for next season, so he will only have two or three more runs and the Thyestes remains the long-term objective.”

The performance of Dooneys Gate raised a few eye-brows. He was never in the race with a chance, before powering through late, after the bird had very much flown.

Tinakellylad, who performed deplorably when a warm order at Limerick previously, got back on track with an emphatic display in the Fethard Maiden Hurdle.

Trainer, Mouse Morris, was at a loss to explain that effort. Said Morris: “He carried him (Niall Madden) today, he never travelled at all at Limerick.

“He will go for a little winners’ of one now, but as an ex-pointer chasing will be his game.”

Madden gave the five-year-old a positive drive and the contest was over once he asked Tinakellylad to go about his business early in the straight, the verdict eight lengths.

Paul Moloney, who has 15 horses in his care at Upton, Co Cork, enjoyed a third success when Rotorua, absent since June, turned over easy-to-back favourite, Earth Mother, in the Kilsheelan Mares Novice Hurdle.

Always on the pace for Andrew McNamara, Rotorua kicked going to two out and Earth Mother could never quite get on terms, after being none too good over the final two flights.

Commented Moloney, who is in his second season with a licence: “We were worried about her fitness, but she was fit enough. She will stick to mares races.”

Edward O’Grady’s Having A Cut landed the Fethard Hunters Chase in the hands of John Thomas McNamara.

The complexion of the contest changed two out when front-running Tom The Traveller fell, although the winner had ranged right up to be on terms.

Commented O’Grady: “If we could win another one that would be grand. He was very disappointing in the north, but we put a tongue-tie on today.”

Willie Mullins’ newcomer, Corkonian, owned by Sean O’Driscoll from Drimoleague, Co Cork, was a short-priced favourite for the Bumper in the morning, but touched as high as 100-30 on track.

That shortened to 9-4 and, under a powerful Patrick Mullins ride, he snatched victory in the final stride by a short head from Fennis Boy.

Said Mullins senior: “He’s a fine big horse, with a flat pedigree, and should be better on better ground.”

Top weight Osborn looked sure to score for most of the straight in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle.

But he began to tire heading to the last and was soon grabbed and passed by Eddie Power and Arkmore Raider.

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