Rudi Trucker (5/2), once again partnered by the evergreen Damian Murphy, made all the running. Whilst runner-up Island Peak held every chance at the third last, the eventual winner skipped clear after the penultimate of the 13 obstacles. Rudi Trucker was well and truly in command when a trifle slow at the final fence and he still came home with four length to spare over last season’s triple victor Island Peak whilst Sky’s The Limit secured the minor honours, a further neck adrift.
With handler Mangan on duty at Cork races, Kay Moroney of the Conna Enclosure Syndicate reported of Rudi Trucker: “This horse got injured after winning a hunters chase at Thurels back in January. We think that he will improve a lot from this race and he will go back hunter chasing now.”
Island Peak’s rider Mikey O’Connor didn’t go away empty-handed as he dead-heated aboard recent Kilsheelan third Border Pass (9/4), whom he trains for his twin-sister Elaine Palmer, with the Michael Hourigan-trained newcomer Best Served Cold (3/1) in the second division of the four-year-old geldings’ maiden.
The newcomer Best Served Cold, representing Gigginstown House Stud, arrived to join issue on the inner with JT McNamara after two out. There was little to separate Best Served Cold and Border Pass, who secured the faster jump at the final fence, on the flat with the judge sensibly declaring a dead heat.
A stewards enquiry was called in relation to possible interference between Best Served Cold and Border Pass from the final fence, but there was no alteration to the result.
Hourigan and McNamara also captured the first split of this same contest with another Gigginstown House Stud-owned debutant in Ballysteen (3/1). An Elnadim-sired grandson of Hourigan’s fomer 11-time track winner Winning Nora, Ballysteen mastered Joe Ryan’s promising first-timer Fairy Court on the flat to oblige by a half-length.
Ciaran Fennessy was also in double form, the 21-year-old opening his account aboard Eamonn Gallagher’s 10/1 shot Gallaflynn in the fiercely-competitive five-year-old geldings’ maiden.
Gallaflynn, who displayed promise by finishing third on his debut at Tallow last term, took up the running after four out with the winning son of Winged Love powering clear from the second last to score by four lengths in the colours of Gallagher’s uncles’ Liam and Raymond O’Flynn.
Sean O’Brien’s newcomer Rosie Kilrain (6/1) completed Fennessy’s two-timer by taking the second division of the seven and eight-year-old maiden.
Rosie Kilrain, the only mare in the nine-runner line-up, had clearly taken the measure of Rocklet when the Michael Cunningham-trained favourite crashed out with Derek O’Connor at the second last. Rosie Kilrain was then left clear to beat Rudies Child by 12 lengths.
Verumontanum (6/1) wasn’t found wanting when bravely digging deep for his trainer Declan Queally’s son and namesake to collect the winners of two. Verumontanum, a maiden victor at Rathcannon on the opening weekend of the season in late-September, recorded a virtual pillar-to-post success and he took the measure of runner-up Kilmurry Kid on the flat to score by a head.
Rossa Parks (9/2), owned, trained and bred by Garry Aherne from Tallow, put last season’s experience to good use by landing the opening four-year-old mares’ maiden in the hands of John Barry. Rossa Parks went for home at the third last and she drew clear on the run to the last to thwart Ollies Gal by three lengths.
Ex-track performer Rose Of Fairyhill (3/1) barely had little more than an exercise canter on her points debut in the first part of the seven and eight-year-old maiden.
Rose Of Fairyhill never saw another horse with Gerry Mangan and she pulled clear from four out to beat One More Shot, the only other finisher, by a distance. Rose Of Fairyhill, runner-up in a Sligo bumper in May 2007, is incidentally one of a dozen horses that John Ryan trains outside Templemore.