Thunder makes spectacular start over fences

Sea Of Thunder, trained by Charles Byrnes for Gigginstown House Stud, made a spectacular start over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Captain Christy Novice Chase at Clonmel yesterday.

It nearly all went pear-shaped at the fifth fence, however. The seven-year-old made a shocking mistake and Davy Russell did well to keep the partnership intact.

Otherwise, though, Sea Of Thunder gave an exhibition of jumping and threw a quite brilliant leap to lead five from home.

After that it was plain sailing and he coasted home 13 lengths clear to land some decent wagers, having been backed from 13-8 to evens.

Commented Byrnes: “The ground is everything to him, but getting it from now on won’t be easy.

“Cheltenham in November could be an option. He wants three miles and will go wherever the ground is good.”

The Novice Hurdle looked fiercely competitive on paper, but saw the Tony Martin-trained Dara Tango land a little touch.

Partnered by Ruby Walsh, the winner was backed from 12-1 to 7-1 and duly obliged, under a typically confident drive from the pilot.

Rodrigeuz set a spanking gallop, but was beaten approaching the home turn, as Sizing Machine edged on.

That one was then starting to struggle when hitting two out, leaving Landenstown Lady in front.

But Walsh was now in full flow and Dara Tango quickened nicely to beat Landenstown Lady by a length.

Martin wasn’t at the meeting, but Walsh said: “The ground is the key to him. He ran respectably in a handicap at Listowel, travelling well, but then could only trot up the straight.”

Dessie Hughes’ Everything Zain was all the rage in the Kilmore three-year-old Maiden Hurdle, but jumped like a horse that had never seen a flight before.

He had, however, two outings under his belt and, despite repeatedly losing ground at his obstacles, still managed to lead early in the straight.

But he again banged into two out and soon had little more to offer, as South South West eased into the lead just before the last for Andrew McNamara.

Winning trainer, Pat Flynn, reported: “He’s complicated and is a bit silly in his head in ways.”

Noel Meade’s Cloudgazer got the full Paul Carberry treatment to take the Laganore Maiden Hurdle.

He had been disappointing in the past, but Carberry had him bowling along in front from the start.

Favourite, Tobar Na Gaoise, looked to have his measure for most of the straight and grabbed a narrow advantage jumping the final flight.

But he didn’t battle anywhere near as well as the winner on the run in and was beaten for second close home by Cullentry Royal.

There are signs Eoin Griffin’s horses are finding some form and his Realt Den Chathair defied top weight in the first division of the Tipp FM Family Raceday Handicap Hurdle.

Given a powerful drive by Eddie O’Connell, Realt Den Chathair stayed on dourly to nail the flattering Playtime Ben close home and score by a short head.

Griffin indicated that the improved fortunes of his horses owe much to good ground. “I am lucky I have owners who were prepared to wait”, he said.

Ryan Treacy, who rode Flamenco Prince in this contest, was found guilty of using his whip continuously after his chance of winning or being placed was clearly gone and suspended for ten days.

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