Bachelor Affair lands popular local success

BACHELOR Affair made all under Tommy Treacy to record a popular local success in the featured Jack Duggan Memorial Handicap Hurdle at Gowran Park yesterday.

Trained by Ger Mullins for his neighbour Mary Greene, the nine-year-old dictated the pace, enjoying an easy lead for most of the journey, and responded to Treacy’s urgings in the closing stages to beat Clarach, trained by the winning handler’s cousin Tony Mullins by two and a half lengths.

Having greeted his 16/1 winner, trainer Ger Mullins commented: “We’ve been waiting for that for a long time. he has to have hard ground and it’s hard to find suitable races for him when conditions are right.

“We’ll probably look for something for him at Galway and he’ll go back for a chase before the summer is out — he’s still well handicapped over fences.”

Back from Auteuil, where he won the French Champion Hurdle on Thousands Stars on Saturday, Ruby Walsh doubled-up on Fort George in a division of the Paulstown Maiden Hurdle and the Tony Martin-trained Uncle Taffy, which completed a hat-trick in effortless style in the Callan Handicap Hurdle.

In front from halfway, the Henry de Bromhead-trained Fort George outstayed his rivals, keeping on strongly to beat God’s County by eight lengths and prompting the winning trainer to comment: “That was grand. Ruby said he jumped great and stayed at it well.

“After he won his bumper in Listowel, we decided to go chasing early with him. He’s only run once over hurdles before today but was unlucky not to win a beginners chase.”

“It was Andrew (Lynch) who suggested going back over hurdles, to get his confidence back.”

Walsh completed his double when Uncle Taffy followed-up wins at Cork and Ballinrobe with an effortless, seven lengths victory over Hepahepa Naeney in the Callan Handicap Hurdle, the uneasy 5/2 second favourite cruising through the field to take command at the last before easing clear.

Trainer Martin, impressed by the performance, said: “He did that well. He has really come to himself and is enjoying the good ground.

“I was afraid of my life of the top horse (Admiral Barry) on his flat form and couldn’t tell the lads (the Plenty Of Spock Syndicate from the St.Peter’s GAA Club in Dunboyne) to get stuck in today. We’ll see what the handicapper does and wait a couple of weeks before making plans.”

The John O’Shea-trained Devil’s Bit, backed from 9/4 to 13/8, turned over odds-on favourite Magical Memoir in the 4-Y-0 Hurdle.

Ridden by Sean McDermott, the son of Montjeu tracked the leaders throughout, landed in front at the second last flight and drew clear to score convincingly by seven lengths.

O’Shea said: “The didn’t go very fast, which was a worry, because he probably needs further. I was disappointed that there wasn’t more of an ease in the ground.

“But he did it well and will head for Galway now, for the four-year-old winners race on the Monday. He’s still an entire and I worry that he’ll boil over some day.”

Off the track since January, the Tom Mullins-trained Tavern Times justified 8/15 favouritism in the Maiden Hurdle, although odds-on backers had to sweat before the Davy Russell-ridden seven-year-old saw off the consistent but luckless Worldy Wise by a half-length.

Tavern Times jumped into the lead four flights from home and stayed on stoutly to keep David Casey’s mount at bay on the long run-in (the last was omitted). Mullins commented: “He had a bad injury after Naas in January. But he’s a horse that has always had plenty of ability. Davy said he wants a bit further than two miles, and that’s the way it looked. The other horse had a go at him, but his class won out. We’ll look for a ‘novice’ for him now.”

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