Inis Meain books Royal Ascot place

The Denis Hogan-trained Inis Meain, bought by Barry Connell as a hurdler, booked his ticket to Royal Ascot when landing the listed Martin Molony Stakes, feature of yesterday’s action in Limerick.

Six-year-old Inis Meain, runner-up to Group 1 winner Parish Hall last time, was unable to adopt his customary front-running tactics as the keen An Saincheann soon took the lead and forced the pace.

This allowed Danny Mullins, on Inis Meain, to take a lead before challenging off the home turn and forging clear to beat Missunited by more than four lengths, giving his owner, trainer and rider their first listed success.

“We’ll have to get our top hats out now,” quipped wining owner Connell, in the absence of trainer Hogan, who went close on Norah Starr in Sligo and picked up a two-day whip ban.

“He doesn’t seem happy over hurdles since his fall in Leopardstown,” added Connell. “But this proves that he’s good enough at this job, so he’ll tip away I listed races. The Wolferton Stakes in Royal Ascot is his target.”

Tadhg O’Shea, who returned from England to ride as retained jockey for Thistle Bloodstock, registered his first success in his new role when Hold The Line made all to justify odds-on favouritism in the Greenmount Median Auction Maiden.

Runner-up in his two previous starts this season, the colt wa also a first winner of the season for trainer Pat Shanahan, who stated: “It’s about time he won. He’s a big and should improve as the season goes on. He’ll be a better horse on better ground.”

Seamus Heffernan brought the Aidan O’Brien-trained Expedition, friendless in the market, from last to first to beat Ruler Of France in the two-year-old maiden. Heffernan commented: “He was very green but, when the penny dropped, he came home well. He should improve plenty from this.”

Promising apprentice Conor King brought his career tally to five when the John Murphy-trained favourite Todd landed the Follow Limerick racecourse On Twitter Handicap.

John Joe Walsh saddled the well-backed Jackemil (Ben Curtis) to win the Patrickswell Handicap and commented: “She’s a good filly and likes it around here — she has won twice here. She’s entered for Gowran on Wednesday, but won’t run there now.”

Colm O’Donoghue was cautioned concerning excessive use of his whip on board the tough and versatile Speed Dial, trained by Pat Hughes, which held the late flourish of Gothen Niece by a head in the Follow Limerick Racecourse On Facebook Handicap.

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