Irish National on Mossey’s agenda

WILLIE AUSTIN, a man who has long known the time of day, produced 12-1 shot Mossey Joe to land the Grade 3 O’Connell Group Stayers’ Hurdle at Cork yesterday.

Two of the major races on the programme, the O’Connell Group Hilly Way Chase and the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Lombardstown Mares Novice Chase, were cancelled on Saturday and the meeting went ahead with six contests.

Those two races were then transferred to today’s meeting at Cork, but the chase track was still frozen yesterday and they have been cancelled again.

Mossey Joe hadn’t been seen since landing a hunters chase at Tipperary back in April and this latest test represented a big step up in class.

He rose to the challenge in some style, however, after pulling quite hard for much of the journey. Andrew Leigh sent him ahead coming away from three out and the imposing gelding bounded clear to beat Fists Of Fury by nine lengths.

Said Austin: “There is no three mile chase for him before Christmas, so we opted for this hurdle race. Back chasing he will be going.

“We might try him in another hurdle, but the Irish Grand National is the main aim. He’s a good horse, but is probably better in front, where he wouldn’t pull so hard.

“I’m not surprised, even though he never went anywhere to gallop and isn’t one hundred per cent fit.”

Willie Mullins’ Bishopsfurze toyed with the opposition on his way to landing the first division of the Irish Racing Yearbook Maiden Hurdle.

Initially he was very easy to back in the ring, drifting out to 6-4 before the money came and he hardened back into 11-10 favourite.

He was always galloping over his rivals and only had to be nudged out heading to the final flight by Paul Townend to score with plenty in hand.

Mullins indicated Bishopsfurze had not schooled well and would be stepped up in trip in the New Year.

Stan James tightened him from 25-1 to 16’s for the Neptune Investments Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Mountain Heather may have gone off a relative outsider at 16-1, in excess of 32-1 on the Tote, but bolted away with the Newmarket Novice Handicap Hurdle.

She was left in front four out, when Newcastle Blaze fell, and made the rest to score unextended for Pat Kennedy by eight lengths.

Trainer, Michael Hogan, reported: “She’d have won further if there was a hill! We will see what the handicapper does, but she will run again at Christmas. It will be at Limerick and could be over fences.”

Oliver McKiernan’s Profit Margin, taken from 13-2 to 9-2, battled on dourly for Paddy Flood to land the second section of the Racing Yearbook Maiden Hurdle.

He finally got the best of it with the persistent pair, Baily Green and House Rules, and the late rush of Stephanie Kate was never going to be a problem.

Commented McKiernan: “I’m happy with that, there must be a different way of training these horses with the amount of snow we have had. All he has done is canter on the sand at the Curragh.”

Martin Ferris, who partnered Baily Green, was suspended for one day, having been found guilty of using his whip with excessive frequency.

Tony Martin’s Osirixamix ran his rivals ragged from the front, in the hands of Robbie Colgan, in the Mallow Handicap Hurdle.

Vast Consumption, having a first outing for Willie Mullins, was all the rage in the morning and on track, but never promised to deliver, after throwing some untidy leaps.

The Bumper saw Henry de Bromhead’s Byerley Bear, ridden by David Roche, doing all his best work at the end to wear down Metro Star to the tune of a length and a quarter.

“I think he’s pretty decent”, said de Bromhead. “David felt he was very green throughout and the penny is still dropping. I’d imagine he will go hurdling now.’

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