Second to Bobs Worth in the 2011 Neptune at Cheltenham before losing his way over fences and being bought by the Hennessys out of Nicky Henderson’s, the six-year-old was having only his second start for his new trainer, who explained: “I’m delighted with that, after being disappointed in Gowran, when Barry said he badly need the run.
“He’s a hard horse to get fit. And the key to him is keeping him happy. Over fences last year, Barry said he was never enjoying himself. So we’ll stay over hurdles with him. He’ll be hard enough to place, But he’ll probably run in the Lismullin at Navan next (on November 11).”
The Willie Mullins-trained Pique Sous, third in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham but beaten at 1/3 on his hurdling debut in Cork, bounced back when making all to justify 4/7 favouritism in the Cashel Maiden Hurdle,
The grey was a bit keen under Ruby Walsh but never looked in danger and came home five lengths clear of Dale Street, prompting Mullins to comment: “He was too free for Emmet in Cork. And we decided on a change of plan for today, to let him make the running.”
Running over an inadequate trip and apparently outpaced at crucial stages of the race, the Colin Bowe-trained Our Victoria justified 9/4 favouritism in the Holycross Mares Chase.
Produced to lead at the last by Barry O’Neill, she stayed on to beat Our Girl Lucy by almost three lengths, prompting Bowe to admit: “The trip was a bit short for her and she got outpaced. But her jumping got her back into the race and she kept going well. She’ll go for the mares’ race in Clonmel (the Grade 3 TA Morris Memorial Mares Chase on November 15) and will then have a break.”
The divisions of the www.thurlesraces.ie Beginners Chase went to Sweeney Tunes and Farrell’s Fancy respectively.
Formerly trained by Shane Donohoe, having his first run for Paul Nolan and returning after an 18-month absence (due to a tendon injury), the Davy Russell-ridden Sweeney Tunes had the measure of favourite Bridgets Pet when that rival crashed at the last in the first division.
Jetson started a hot favourite for the second division but was unable to get to grips with well-backed, all-the-way winner Farrell’s Fancy, ridden for Terence O’Brien by Davy Condon.
“He turned out disappointing over hurdles and I wasn’t confident today, because he pulled a muscle after Listowel,” said O’Brien afterwards. “He was good when he attacked his fences and could still be a good horse. At least he’s back on track!”
Runner-up in his last six starts, the Dessie Hughes-trained Everything Zain (2/1 favourite) finally got his head in front when landing the three-year-old maiden hurdle at the expense of Brog Deas.
There were local successes in both handicaps on the card. The Andy Slattery-trained Sea Of Moyne (Tom Carroll) made all to win the Horse & Jockey Handicap Chase, his task eased significantly when favourite and nearest pursuer Kilmurry Kid fell at the fourth last.
And Templemore-based Paddy Hogan saddled Cool Oscar to win the concluding Leugh Amateur Handicap Hurdle in convincing style under Declan Queally.