Long trek again pays-off for Dick Naylor

IT’s a long way from Banbridge in Co Down to Clonmel, but it paid off for trainer, Jerry Cosgrave, when his Dick Naylor won the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Maiden Hurdle at Clonmel yesterday.

The horse made the same journey in December to take his bumper and clearly finds the Tipperary air very much to his liking.

Always on the pace for Andrew McNamara, the winner found plenty in the straight to stride away from the flattering Lenabane after the second last.

Cosgrave didn’t make the trip himself and was represented by well-known amateur rider, Mark O’Hare.

Said O’Hare: “If coming out of this race alright, Dick Naylor might get an entry in a three mile novice hurdle at Aintree. He will go chasing next season.”

McNamara completed a double when driving L’Acajou to victory in the Slievenamon Beginners Chase.

Edward O’Grady’s eight-year-old and The Phantom Piper went toe-to-toe from a fair way out and the outcome was still in the balance when The Phantom Piper blundered badly at the final fence.

McNamara wasn’t totally convinced he would have won in any case. He said: “I’m not sure, although my horse did gallop all the way to the line.”

Joe Walsh’s Sportivo, like Dick Naylor, is clearly not adverse to the Tipperary air and he landed the Munster Handicap Chase.

This was his second successs at the track and his previous two wins came at Thurles.

Sportivo forged to the front going to the last for Kevin Coleman and, despite weaving around, was soon clear of Davids Day.

Commented Walsh: “He’s an odd horse and ran about a bit. Races for him are scarce now and his next outing could be at Fairyhouse at Easter.”

Superior Ben justified strong favouritism with a smooth performance to land the Lisronagh Maiden Hurdle.

Taken as high as 9-4 in the morning, Dessie Hughes’ charge was always much shorter on track and was returned at 5-4.

Roger Loughran was in no hurry, but the contest was over once he eased Superior Ben ahead going to two out to score by 13 lengths.

Shane Jackson, who took a tumble off morning-price gamble, Gerbera, at the fourth, was stood down for seven days.

The Paul Stafford-trained Will Jamie Run followed up his easy win at Fairyhouse in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase.

Conor Maxwell had the ride and only had to nudge out the Dr Massini gelding to win with plenty in hand.

Said Stafford: “He’s an improving horse, but I don’t know where to go with him now. He had some niggling problems, but we got them sorted out.’

John Hanlon’s Fennis Boy, beaten a short head by Willie Mullins’ Corkonian on the track previously, redeemed the promise of that effort when battling on courageously to take the Bumper.

Brian O’Connell was taking no pisoners and he powered Fennis Boy into the lead on the down hill approach to the home turn.

Cass Bligh tried his case through the last two furlongs, but the winner found plenty, staying on really well in the closing stages.

“I’ve had a few winners in points of late, but that’s my first on the track since Christmas”, revealed Hanlon.

“The owners are anxious to go to Cheltenham and if the horse gets in then he will run in the Bumper.”

Davy Fitzgerald’s Aerlite Rooler cropped up at 14-1, over 34-1 on the Tote, in the Comeragh Handicap Hurdle

Strongly handled by Martin Ferris, the winner edged on going to the second last to beat Vast Consumption by three lengths.

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