Cullen makes it Lady’s day

The David O’Brien-trained Ballinahow Lady (pictured) cropped up at 10-1 in the featured eight- runner Miceal Fitzgibbon Memorial EBF Mares’ Novice Chase at Thurles yesterday.

Cullen makes it Lady’s day

Ridden by John Cullen, she got the best of a real battle with Ros Brin in the closing stages to score by half a length.

Ballinahow Lady got in a bit tight to the final fence and was headed by the second halfway up the run-in. But she fought back, for a fiercely determined Cullen, and was nicely on top at the line.

Said O’Brien: “That was nice, she’s tough. I gave her a bit of a break after Limerick at Christmas and she seems to have freshened up well.

“I didn’t know if she was fit enough, she does carry some condition. Navan could be next, she likes that track.’’

Moiqen, who won the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown for Kevin Prendergast as a three-year-old, and was regarded as a possible Derby horse, has long since had his sights lowered, but justified favouritism in the very moderate Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Beginners Chase.

Given a powerful drive by Davy Russell, he found plenty from the final fence to beat Stradbally by a length and a quarter.

The eight-year-old is now in the care of Philip Byrne at Birr, Co Offaly, who said: “He used to be a bit of a tearaway, but jumping fences has slowed him down and Davy gave him a super ride.’’ It was Moiqen’s first success since the Ballysax.

If Russell was good on Moiqen, then he was simply magnificent aboard Mouse Morris’ Carry Each Other, the 6-4 favourite, in the Devils Bit Beginners Chase.

Truth to tell the son of Milan hardly went a yard for most of the journey and his jumping left plenty to be desired as well.

But this was a bad contest and Russell kept driving and then drove some more.

Gradually Carry Each Other began to close down the leaders, but was still a remote sixth approaching the turn in.

Western Man was now making the best of his way home, but his stride started to shorten heading the last and, with Carry Each Other finally condescending to go forward for Russell, he wore down the leader and was actually in complete control nearing the line.

Clashnabrook, who ran a cracker when runner-up behind Colbert Station over flights at Punchestown, redeemed the promise of that effort when taking the Horse And Jockey Handicap Chase.

In the care of Eoghan O’Grady, he was adding to the trainer’s gains with Unoccupied at Thurles on Wednesday.

Philip Enright, who partnered Unoccupied, was again aboard, forcing the winner to beat the staying-on Prince Of Forwards by half a length.

“He’s entered in a novice handicap chase at Clonmel next Thursday, so we will see how he is,’’ reported O’Grady.

Tim Doyle’s Jolily, beaten into second by Tarquinius at Leopardstown previously, made no mistake in the Happy St Valentine’s Day Handicap Chase.

Andrew Lynch pushed him into the lead going to two out and he found plenty to easily beat Kakagh.

Commented Doyle: “He’ll go for something similar over three miles or further. This is an 11-year-old, with little mileage on the clock.’’

Dessie Hughes’ Wise Oscar, who would have gone off favourite, was a relatively late withdrawal, the ground given as the reason.

In the Rock Of Cashel Handicap Chase, David Splaine drove Letterlee Star to a clear-cut nine lengths defeat of Mr Bb, a contest in which just five of the 15 runners managed to complete.

Picture: Healy Racing

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