On the eve of the Punchestown Festival, Carberry had an armchair ride onboard 5/4 market choice Like The Da, which gained compensation for an unlucky defeat at Ballinrobe on Wednesday when making all to land the Daily Mirror Handicap Hurdle comfortably at the expense of Uncle Taffy.
A last flight mistake cost Like The Da at Ballinrobe. But there were no worries for his supporters this time as he recorded his second win in three starts and provided County Galway handler David Kelly with his second winner in twenty-four hours.
Kelly said: “This fellow was a bit unlucky at Ballinrobe, but got it right today. The horses are in great form. We only have six at the moment and five of them have won.”
Carberry had a similarly straight-forward task on long-absent Cottage Oak, adopting front-running tactics again on the Gordon Elliott trained eight-year-old to slam So Determined by twelve lengths.
Enjoying a tremendous run, Elliott explained: “I’m delighted to win with my first horse for the owners, the Sloans. He was pre-trained in their place in Templepatrick and only came to me seven or eight weeks ago. He loves that ground and will keep going for the summer, if he stays in one piece.”
No luck for Carberry on board the Elliott-trained Dev, which started favourite but dropped away tamely to finish last of four behind Paul Nolan’s Politeo in the Daily Mirror Handicap Chase. A thirteenth winner of the season for claimer Michael Doran, Polieto, owned by Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, stretched clear from the third last to win easily. The trainer’s brother said: “He jumps well and loves that ground and I wouldn’t rule out the prospect of him running at Punchestown during the week.”
It was a case of mixed feelings for Davy Condon after morning gamble Golan Guy landed the opening maiden hurdle, building on the promise shown at Fairyhouse last week to belatedly open his account. Condon picked up a one-day ban for excessive use of his whip on the Tony Martin-trained gelding.
Martin was in Limerick. But winning owner Billy Moffatt said: “This horse has been disappointing in winter ground and appreciated the conditions today. The strong pace suited him, because all he does is keep galloping. Davy gave him a nice ride.”
Liam Lennon saddled Rowdy Rampage, ridden by Mark O’Hare, to make all in the four-runner hunters chase, his task being eased when nearest rival Unanswered crashed four from home.
Lennon declared: “I think he would have beaten the other horse anyway. He’s a nice horse and jumps well. He’ll go back point-to-pointing next week. There’s a lady rider race in Enniskillen, where Carol Ann Sloan will ride him.”
John ‘Shark’ Hanlon and Nina Carberry combined to win the bumper with Trabajo. Hanlon said: “He’s probably not a hundred per cent today but won well. He’s owned by a bunch of Cork lads, who are due home during the week for Punchestown. They’ll be keen to run him again, but I’m not in favour of the idea. I think he’s a fair horse and will make a fine hurdler and chaser in time.”