Ardkilly Witness (5/2) was always well-positioned and he moved on with Awbeg Massini from the penultimate of the 13 obstacles. The successful six-year-old, sporting the silks of Tierney’s daughter Aine, edged into a slight advantage at the final fence and he powered clear in the closing stages to defeat Awbeg Massini by one-length. Dr Patmassini meanwhile posted his best effort for quite some time by returning a further three lengths adrift in third spot.
“We will see how he comes out of this race, but he’s improving away the whole time and we will probably look at a hunters chase at Cork over Easter,” said Tierney who was attaining a third success of the season with his five-strong string.
Ardkilly Witness’ rider James Hannon departed with two winners for he later collected the closing five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden, the event that attacted the biggest field of the afternoon with 19 runners, aboard the James Motherway-trained Ballinahow Star(5/1 — 4/1).
The six-year-old Ballinahow Star, owned and bred by Roger McLoughlin, mastered favourite Girl In Blue on the run to the last and she then held on grimly to eclipse the fast-finishing Queen Of The Hill by a short head.
Declan Queally similarly rode two winners, the Cappagh amateur signing off on the Louis Archdeacon-trained Castlelawn (8/1) in the ultra-competitive second division of the five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden.
Castlelawn, who still held the call when unseating two out in The Friary’s Tallow maiden last month, stormed to the front quite literally on the line to beat Ballinvarrig by the minimum margin. Castlelawn is owned incidentally by Archdeacon’s daughter Laura, who celebrated her eighth birthday yesterday, in partnership with his wife Michelle.
Queally initiated his two-timer courtesy of the Denis Murphy-trained grey Tothemoonandback (5/1) in the two and a half mile four-year-old maiden. Tothemoonandback however appeared to have luck on his side for Paul Cashman’s Present View and the Robert Tyner-trained Smiles For Miles were locked in combat at the head of affairs when the pair both fell independently two out.
Tyner however sent out the Mikey O’Connor-ridden Presenting Rebel (2/5), the only victorious favourite on the seven-race card, to win the following confined hunts maiden. Presenting Rebel had to be posed a few serious questions though to dismiss Witness That by a length in the colours of the six-member Patient Syndicate.
Joe O’Keeffe’s Ballymonteen Wood caused a 14/1 upset by landing the first division of the five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden. Ballymonteen Wood, who pulled up on his two previous starts, took up the running before two out.
The winning bay, owned and bred by O’Keeffe’s brother Bill, readily maintained the momentum in the closing stages to dispose of Roeing Along by a length and by doing so he was providing 21-year-old Conna amateur James Spillane with a third career success.
Jack Bennett’s After Dark won the mares’ open in the hands of David John Byrne. The former Lemonfield maiden winner After Dark, representing her handler’s former school-friends Sean Leo and Garry O’Riordan from Bruff, asserted in the closing stages to beat Rotorua by one and a half lengths with Magical Mother a further half-length adrift in third spot. After Dark is now likely to contest the mares’ hunters chase at Cork over Easter.