Ridden by Ruby Walsh (thanks to a rise in the weights compared to Saturday’s race), John Brennan’s five-year-old cruised into the lead at the second last but, on the run-in, had to work hard to hold Faltering Fullback by a half-length, prompting Mullins’ representative Gary Davis to comment: “That ground is in a league of its own. This horse has to be produced late. Ruby gave him a lovely ride and did it well enough.”
The Mullins double was completed when debutante Supreme Carolina, ridden by trainer’s son Patrick, won the bumper emphatically.
Davis stated: “That was very good and a bit unexpected. She’s our first runner for the Supreme Horse Racing Club, one of eight horses we have for them.”
Subject of controversy, for the wrong reasons, in the race last year, Pittoni — a red-hot 1/7 favourite — landed the concluding Listowel Races Supporters Club Slan Abhaile Race at the expense of Idarah, giving Derek O’Connor his 100th racecourse success.
Winning trainer Charles Byrnes admitted: “He struggled a small bit in the ground, but he won. He might go for the Grade 2 (Friends of Tipperary Hurdle) in Tipperary on Sunday week and then the Irish Cesarewitch.”
John ‘Shark’ Hanlon continued his superb run of form when Ardglen, 9lb. higher than when scoring at Ballinrobe on Monday, made all to win the Charlie Chute Memorial Handicap Chase — Hanlon’s eight winner in ten days.
The 2/1 favourite, which made virtually all for a convincing sixteen lengths win, provided Brian Hayes with his first win in Ireland as a professional, having broken his ‘duck’ as a pro with a double in Perth on Wednesday. Ardglen will reappear under a mandatory penalty in Clonmel tomorrow.
Local hero Bryan Cooper registered his first win since losing his claim when Lucky William, trained outside Tralee by his father Tommy, justified odds-on favouritism in the Allman Contracts Limited Beginners Chase.
He was travelling well but enjoying only a narrow lead when challenger Forjoetheplumber blundered and unseated Paddy Mangan at the final fence.
The winning trainer said: “He was unlucky last season and would have been placed in the Drinmore if he didn’t fall. This will help his confidence and we can step him up in grade now.”
Kilcara Boy, in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle, was another local winner for Abbeyfeale-based Ballyduff-born trainer John Supple and Asdee native Joe Holly, who was enjoying his first success in the saddle since last November.