When the going gets tough...

GOING descriptions in Ireland have long been a major bone of contention, but the topic reached a new low at Limerick last night.

The official ground before racing was good, but it was crystal clear, watching the opener, such thinking was very misleading.

As soon as the contest was over it was changed to yielding and then, soon afterwards, to yielding to soft, soft in the straight. This was simply farcical, on the basis that no rain whatsoever fell through the day.

The featured Martin Molony Stakes was won in good style by the well-backed Jessica Harrington-trained Bob Le Beau.

Produced by Fran Berry to lead with over a furlong to run, the winner forged away to beat Unity by a comfortable length.

Said Berry: “He was a bit outpaced downhill to the straight, but picked up well. The worry coming was the ground, but he got through it.”

John Murphy produced a useful looking newcomer in March On Rome to take the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Maiden.

Partnered by Ben Curtis, he swept up on the outside to prove far too good for Aidan O’Brien’s market leader Prophesy, who again seemed less than enthusiastic.

Murphy completed a massive 254-1 double when Goldplated came late and fast to foil a gamble on Hangar Five in the Derrinstown Stud Apprentice Handicap.

It was a second winner for pilot, Samantha Bell, with Murphy remarking: “She gave it a great ride.”

Those who took the short odds on offer about Gonebeyondthemoon, in the Irish Mirror Maiden, were on good terms with themselves as she cruised up the straight looking to be well in control.

But from the furlong pole the world changed and, suddenly, it was hard for the favourite, who was grabbed close home and beaten half a length by 25-1 shot, Roman Flight.

Charlie Swan trained the winner and reported: “He’s a nice horse, who has been working well, but it was his first time on grass and this is a pleasant surprise.''

Dermot Weld’s Natural High, off the track since October, led three furlongs out and made the rest for Matt O’Connor to win the Peter Clohessy's Bar And Sin Nightclub Race.

Weld was represented by his son, Kris, who said: “He will go for a maiden hurdle at Galway and that will probably be his next race. He has schooled and jumps well.”'

John Oxx ran two in the Croom House Stud EBF Fillies Maiden and won with the outsider of the pair, 14-1 shot, Kalabaya.

The newcomer, by Sinndar, was eased ahead by in-form Niall McCullagh with over a furlong to go and stretched right away to beat stable companion, Kastania.

One Of Three, successful at the course six days earlier, did it again in the jogforjockeys.ie Handicap.

He powered ahead over a furlong down for Gary Carroll to score with plenty in hand by two lengths.

Meanwhile, the Christy Roche-trained Harold’s Cross completed a chasing hat-trick when landing the featured www.thetote.com Plate Trial at Down Royal last evening.

The JP McManus-owned six-year-old was left in front when top-weight and favourite Mossey Joe, which had stretched into the lead and jumped impeccably from the third, slipped and sprawled badly on landing, when still clear, at the third last fence, coming to a virtual standstill and losing his chance.

Harold’s Cross, ridden by Alan Crowe and in receipt of a massive 30lb from the favourite, was left to contain the challenge of Predateur, which he did by six lengths,

Declan McNamara, trained of Mossey Joe, enjoyed better luck earlier when Miss Mary Mac, ridden by John Cullen, made a successful chasing debut in the Fred J Malcolm Beginners Chase, beating Hazeymm by 13 lengths.

The Edward O’Grady-trained The Real Article, a triple bumper winner last year and winner of his maiden hurdle at Listowel last September, bounced back from a poor effort on the flat at Clonmel last time to beat fellow joint-favourite Pires emphatically in the MaxMara Hurdle.

O’Grady paid tribute to the racecourse farrier, who worked on the six-year-old on his arrival at the track, after The Real Article travelled badly and tore off a shoe on the journey.

Ruby Walsh guided the Philip Dempsey-trained odds-on favourite Jacksonslady to victory over Brave Beauty in the opening Lilys Pub & Eatery Mares Novice Hurdle. The six-year-old will campaign in novice company for the summer.

The Jason McKeown-ridden Donatis Comet, in receipt of 10lb got the better of favourite Trabajo in the bumper, while Robbie Hennessy saddled 20/1 Solider Bay to win the Hugo Thomas Handicap Hurdle, after which Robbie Colganm, rider of runner-up Brega Queen was banned for one day for excessive use of his whip.

And Oliver Brady was in typically jubilant form after greeting Shabra Charity (and jockey Mattie Bowe) following her 16/1 victory in the Medicare Pharmacy Maiden Hurdle.

Picture: The Real Article (Andrew McNamara) jump the last to win the MaxMara hurdle at Down Royal. Photo: Healy Racing

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