Mortlestown (5/2), a fine second on his two completed starts at Boulta and Dromahane (on December 30th), experienced a dream run through on the inner after the fourth last. The winning son of Milan went to the front on the approach to the final fence and he was always possessing too many aces for runner-up Smiles For Miles in the closing stages. Keating, who shares ownership Mortlestown with fellow handler Aidan Kennedy, intimated that the bay will now be offered at the joint-race sponsors’ DBS sale after racing at Newbury this Saturday.
Smiles For Miles’ rider Derek O’Connor still departed with three winners and he got off the mark aboard Robert Tyner’s Soaring High (3/1) in controversial circumstances in the winners of one. Soaring High, owned by Tom O’Brien from Killeagh, was initially beaten a neck into second spot by Colman Sweeney’s mount Carli King.
The stewards however found that there was interference between the pair after the final fence and that it had been sufficient to alter the result. They disqualified Carli King, awarding victory to the unexposed six-year-old Soaring High.
Tyner also supplied the Galwegian with the final leg of his hat-trick aboard Bingo Bash (4/1 – 7/2) in the closing seven-year-old and upwards maiden. One of just two mares’ in the 14-runner line-up, Bingo Bash made smooth progress to tackle Flan The Man at the second last. Bingo Bash clearly had taken Flan The Man’s measure when Paul Power’s mount erred at the last and she duly powered clear on the flat to triumph by seven lengths. Bingo Bash, representing the All The Hens Syndicate, will now be targeted at the Gain Mares’ Final at Ballynoe in three weeks time.
The nine-time champion’s remaining success came aboard Bruff-based owner/trainer Seamus Murnane’s Givemeabuzz (6/4) in the mares’ open. Givemeabuzz, also successful at Killaloe three weeks earlier, eased into the lead at the second last and she was containing closest pursuer Frontier Lady when the long-time leader cruelly ejected her partner at the final fence.
Rathcormac-based handler Jonathan Sweeney sent out his second career winner, following on from Miss Libby’s success at Kildorrery last month, when Glencullen Lass (6/1 – 7/2) justified some nice wagers in the five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden. Glencullen Lass moved through for the capable Larry Murphy to join issue with runner-up Contessa Margerita after the fourth last and the eventual winner was left with a relatively straightforward task when Sean Aherne’s charge almost came a cropper at the second last.
Tallow owner/trainer Dr Joe O’Keeffe, also on the mark with Nouveau Moulin at Limerick the previous afternoon, struck with the homebred Wayupinthesky (9/4) in the second split of the five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden. The grey Wayupinthesky, whilst none too clever at the second last, still readily rose his effort for Pat Collins from the final fence to surge past the towering Inis Ui Dhrisceoil on the inner inside the final 100 yards to oblige by a neck.
Only two faced the starter in the confined hunts maiden and the seven-year-old mare Carrig Glen (5/4), trained by Martin Fitzgerald for his father Joe, asserted from before two out with Ciaran Fennessy to dismiss Secret Exit by five lengths. The win was a poignant one as Killeagh-based Fitzgerald disclosed that his aunt Mary Conran, a long-standing point-to-point fan, died at the weekend.