Minella Friend continues Nallen’s terrific run

Clonmel hotelier John Nallen has experienced a terrific run of success with his charges in point-to-points this season and the owner/trainer struck once more with newcomer Minella Friend in the four-year-old geldings’ maiden at yesterday’s Killeady Harriers meeting at Dromahane.

The King’s Theatre-sired Minella Friend (3/1) made progress on entering the home straight before three out as fellow first-timers’ Out Sam and Mr Picotee vied for supremacy up front. The eventual winner moved into a challenging position for ‘Corky’ Carroll approaching the final of the 14 obstacles and, having touched down in front here, he readily quickened clear on the flat to dismiss Arthur Goulding’s Out Sam by a comprehensive four lengths. Mr Picotee showed clear signs of promise by returning a further five lengths adrift in third spot.

“I bought this fellow privately as a yearling and he has always shown us plenty at home,” said Nallen, who was greeting his fourth individual winner of the season.

Robert Tyner and Derek O’Connor rarely leave this venue empty-handed and the pair combined to collect the second division of the five-year-old geldings’ maiden with Cuil Rogue (9/4). An embryonic chaser that’s a brother to Turpin Green, Cuil Rogue made virtually all the running and the winning son of Presenting gamely fought off Ronnie O’Leary’s Castletown from the final fence to oblige by two lengths in the colours of Joe Leyden from Co Clare.

Frontrunning tactics similarly provided the solution to the first instalment of this same contest as Sam Curling’s Seeyouatmidnight (3/1) returned to the coveted number one slot in the hands of Roger Quinlan. The Dick Frisby-owned Seeyouatmidnight, who fell at the first fence here eight days earlier in the maiden won by Hackets Folly, wasn’t found wanting in the closing stages and he duly eclipsed the staying-on Forget And Forgive by a half-length.

Seeyouatmidnight is now bound for the Doncaster sales in just over a fortnight’s time and another that will be offered at the popular Yorkshire venue is John Clifford’s Gullivar, who just came out best in a gripping three-way finish to the winners of one.

Gullivar (6/1), placed on all three previous starts this season, powered to the front inside the final 50 yards to repel Ches Calls Time and Coolykereen Castle. Whilst there was no alteration to the result at the subsequent enquiry, the stewards banned Gullivar’s rider Declan Queally for one-day for using his whip with excessive force whilst he was also fined €200.

Finbarr Lordan, who trains just a handful of horses outside Belgooly, sent out his second winner of the campaign courtesy of Clontead Cross (4/1) in the closing confined hunts maiden. Clontead Cross went for home with James Hannon as the runners set out on the final circuit and whilst runner-up Kennedys Mor closed from two out, he was still one and a quarter lengths adrift at the line.

Reddy Boy (7/2), already a dual runner-up this term, opened his account with Mikey O’Connor in the seven and eight-year-old geldings’ maiden. However, David O’Brien’s charge recorded a somewhat unlikely victory for Flan The Man seemed destined for success until veering violently out to his right some 50 yards out. Reddy Boy, owned by Mike Allen from Britain, then made the most of the opportunity presented to him by storming to the front to dispose of Jim Dreaper’s Terry Tibbs by one and a half lengths with a half-length gap back to the luckless Flan The Man.

Sean Aherne’s Contessa Margerita (5/1), who seemed well up to track standard when narrowly losing out to Truckers Darling on her career debut at Aghabullogue in January, made virtually all in the first division of the six-year-old mares’ maiden. In what was the closest finish of the afternoon, the diminutive Contessa Margerita bravely came a second time with the capable Sheila Ahern from Ballyduff Upper to beat the favourite Tooreen.

Patrick Casey, a 24-year-old that hails from Aglish, was credited with his initial career winner aboard Pat Breen’s Bell’s Cross (7/1) in the second division of this same contest. The previously once-raced Bell’s Cross, representing David Finn from Mallow, moved through to dispute at the second last. Although edging right-handed in the closing stages, the winning daughter of Dr Massini still defeated Ballylacken Star in the style of a progressive sort.

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