Manning partnered the Jim Bolger-trained Aquilonius to an emphatic win over Beat The Ballot in the nursery and followed-up on Gaiety Theatre in the Happy Christmas To All Our Patrons Maiden.
Bolger’s representative Ger Flynn commented, after the win of Aquilonius: “That was Kevin’s last ride for the boss this year and he rode our first winner of the season too. This horse won well and, like the rest of his family, should make a nice three-year-old.”
Michael Hussey delivered Captain Joy fast and late to deny Harry Trotter in the opening two-year-old maiden, prompting Tracey Collins, who trains the Dark Angel colt for her mother Barbara to declare: “The owner will be delighted — I’ll get my turkey on Sunday now! This horse was unlucky the last day and is still a bit green but Michael gave him a serious ride.”
Hussey completed his double, and denied Kevin manning a treble, when Lift The Gloom held the late surge of Bramante in the second division of the dundalkstadium.com Handicap.
Harry Rogers’ excellent end-of-year form continued when Elusive Ridge made all to justify odds-on favouritism in the four-runner Crowne Plaza Hotel Dundalk Race, completing a quick hat-trick on the track, where he has now won five times.
“He’s been a great servant and loves the fast surface here,” said Rogers. “The horses have been in great form over the last few weeks and we’ve had a bit of luck along the way.”
On his first day back in action, since returning from honeymoon, Wayne Lordan partnered the David Nagle-trained Elwazeer, backed from 14/1 to 7/1. to a convincing win in a division of the dundalkstadium.com Handicap.
Knockgraffon Lad’s tremendous winning run ended in the Winter Racing Resumes Friday 6th January 2012 Handicap, when Billy Lee’s mount failed to collar front-running top-weight Confidence, a first winner for Galway-born apprentice Mark Rafferty (17), who is apprenticed to the four-year-old’s trainer Luke Comer.
Another apprentice — Gary Halpin — who rode his first winner on Master Melody here two weeks ago, struck again on the same, Kevin Prendergast-trained gelding, which justified 7/2 favouritism in the 2011 finale at Dundalk, the Free Admission on 6th January Handicap.