Fingal lords it over rivals in maiden

Jim Dreaper appears to have a seriously-talented-prospect on his hands in the form of Lord Fingal who lit up Saturday’s Ward Union hunt point-to-point at The Folly outside Oldtown in north Co Dublin by coming home as he pleased in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden.

On an afternoon that saw many thinking of JT McNamara after his fall from Galaxy Rock at Cheltenham on Thursday afternoon, Lord Fingal (6/4 – 5/4) led or disputed the running practically throughout on the wide outside and the recent Knockanard runner-up experienced his only semi-anxious moment when erring at the fourth last of the 14 obstacles.

The giant-sized son of Brian Boru, bred by Jimmy Mangan, was soon back on an even keel and he powered clear on the approach to the final fence to account for Tom Mullins’ newcomer Fairy Island by a comprehensive seven lengths. By doing so, Lord Fingal was providing his talented 22-year-old rider Jamie Flynn from Swords with a tenth career success.

In the absence of Dreaper, the Kilsallaghan-based handler’s son Tom remarked: “This horse is owned by Elaine and Declan O’Farrell, who are neighbours of ours at home. They have always wanted to have a winner here at The Folly. This horse has been shaping well with some decent horses of ours at home, but he will probably be now left off for the summer.”

Derek O’Connor was the only rider to partner two winner, the Galwegian barely having to strain a sinew aboard his brother Paurick’s Tyrone Golden Rain (1/4) in the four-runner open. Tyrone Golden Rain took up the running before four out and the previous weekend’s Maralin runner-up effortlessly drew clear from two out to dismiss former three-time track winner Tipolino by an unextended sixth lengths.

The nine-time champion then joined forces with John Berry to capture the five and six-year-old mares’ maiden with Call Me Emma (4/1). Having pulled up on her debut at Kildorrery three weeks earlier, Call Me Emma led after the second last and she was being challenged by Narcotic Nora when Tony Martin’s physically-imposing newcomer sustained a crashing final-fence fall. Call Me Emma was then left with the relatively straightforward task of beating Garrenjames Mist by 25 lengths.

Narcotic Nora’s rider Jamie Codd still kept his supporters happy by landing the four-year-old maiden aboard Gordon Elliot’s odds-on shot Very Wood (4/6), much to the consternation of the eight bookmakers present. Runner-up on his debut in a controversial finish at Punchestown last month, Very Wood struck the front after the third last and he wasn’t troubled thereafter to thwart Virginia Considine’s newcomer Champagne At Tara by four lengths. The Gigginstown House Stud-owned Very Wood is now likely to be put away until next season.

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