Aboard the Patrick Neville-trained Rockshandy in the opening www.limerickraces.ie Maiden Hurdle, Doyle sent his mount to the front from the outset and his bold tactics paid dividends. Under pressure half a mile from home, the winner jumped well in the closing stages and stayed on strongly to see off the persistent challenge of Outrageous Request.
Winning trainer Pat Neville said afterwards: “He is a nice horse and is improving. He jumps great and will make a nice chaser. We were confident coming here today and we have no immediate plans for him now.”
The middle leg of the rider’s treble came in the following GAA Supporters’ Day Handicap Hurdle race when the well-supported Moon Dice (10-1 to 3-1 in the morning, returned 9-2) also benefited from a positive ride.
Always on or close to the pace, Doyle sent the six-year-old on a half a mile from home and he raced away to score comfortably from Worldly Wise.
Trainer Paul Flynn reported that his charge, who had a bad injury early last year, appreciated the switch to handicap company. Perhaps the return to the scene of his only previous success, when also gambled, may have helped.
“He’s come good this year. He wants a good pace and you can get that in handicaps. He’s just in much better form this year. He’s done a lot of schooling over fences and that’s where you might see him next,” said Flynn, before quipping “He likes Limerick, doesn’t he?”
Doyle showed his versatility in the saddle when completing his treble with a patient ride aboard James Halpin’s Noble Commander in the SCA Nutrition Handicap Chase. Dropped out early, the rider brought his mount with a steady run to collar Francis Du Mesnil between the final two fences. The last-named, who travelled like the winner for much of the trip, had no answer as Noble Commander raced on dourly to score by six lengths.
Doyle commented: “It’s nice to win one from behind. Things are going great. It’s my first treble in Ireland.”
The feature event was the Beginners’ Chase in which dual point to point winner Out Now shed his maiden status inside the rails. Other than when getting in close at the second last fence, he always looked to have the measure of Sounds Of Jupiter and duly ran away from that rival in the hands of Andrew McNamara. “We probably should have went chasing with him earlier, but having come second here and at Down Royal we decided to persevere with him longer,” said trainer Eddie O’Grady. “He should be a nice chaser.”
Ruby Walsh made the trip south worthwhile when pushing Michael Hourigan’s Friendly Society to success in the June 11th And 17th Twilight Racing Maiden Hurdle. For Dylan travelled best of all into the home straight but he and De Dodger were involved in a protracted battle and Friendly Society, under a strong drive from Walsh, raced up the insider to deny both horses.
The winning trainer said: “I’m delighted for the owner, Ginnie Petersham, as her horses had been on a bad roll recently. She’s a great supporter of jumps racing and I’m delighted he won for her. He’s a summer horse and will stay over hurdles this year. I’ll wait until next year to send him chasing.”
Liam Kenny’s Gallant Ferns looks set for a considerable rise in the ratings after she ran out a very easy winner of the three-mile Patrickswell GAA Novice Handicap Hurdle. The mare travelled well under a confident ride from Bryan Cooper and, after easing to the front on the turn for home, she skipped clear in effortless fashion.
A winner of the Champion Four-Year-Old Bumper here back in 2008, she made a promising start over the larger obstacles this season but her trainer, Liam Kenny, is keen to find another hurdle for her.
“When she’s on form she’s very good,” said Kenny. “She didn’t mind the bit of juice in the ground and I might throw her into another three-mile hurdle if the handicapper is not too hard on her. After that I’ll let her off as she’s been in a long time.”