On an afternoon that witnessed seven races, Pocket Reader (7/2) was ridden close to the pace as Lanespark set off in his customary front-running position with Preists Leap shadowing him virtually throughout.
Lanespark cried enough at the head of affairs on the lengthy run to the penultimate of the 12 obstacles as Pocket Reader and Preists Leap went on.
The winner threw a fabulous jump for his owner Irene Walsh to lead at this second-last fence and he was always on top thereafter, three lengths the ultimate winning margin over former dual Thyestes Chase winner Preists Leap.
The likelihood is that Pocket Reader will now contest the four-mile open at Kinsale next month, according to Ms Walsh’s husband Fergus O’Connor.
Kilbarry Lodge Stud stallion master Con O’Keeffe sent out his initial winner a handler courtesy of newcomer Racing Pulse (7/1), homebred by his son Thomas, in the four-year-old maiden.
Racing Pulse, whose sire Garuda stands at Kilbarry Lodge Stud outside Waterford city, made smooth progress to lead for Mikey O’Connor at the second last and the victorious bay then strode clear to beat the well-supported Monbeg Theatre by ten lengths in the colours of Tadhg O’Sullivan.
It certainly was a fabulous afternoon for the O’Keeffe family as Kilbarry Beauty, trained by John Kiely for O’Keeffe’s wife Claire, won the maiden hurdle at Killarney some 45 minutes later.
Adrian Maguire seems to have another potentially decent prospect on his hands in the well-supported Tagrita (2/1 -6/4), who hardly broke sweat on her debut in the five and six-year-old mares’ maiden.
The five-year-old Tagrita, a daughter of King’s Theatre that’s out of a half-sister to Grey Abbey, made all the running and she effortlessly bounded clear from the second last to slam Liz’s D’Estruval by 15 lengths in the style of a considerably better than average sort.
Tagrita was providing Youghal-based Maurice O’Mahony, who celebrated his engagement to Janet Swayne the previous weekend, with his initial success as an owner.
Denis Prendergast’s Trafficker (7/2), a runner-up on his penultimate foray at Lisronagh in late-March, carried the familiar silks of Lisgoold native Terry Ryan to a convincing success in the first division of the six-year-old geldings’ maiden.
Trafficker was sent to the front by Kevin Power after the second last to beat Flashy Lad by two and a half lengths and a hurdling campaign now beckons for the winning son of Flemensfirth.
Pat Healy sent out his initial winner of the season when Ches Calls Time bravely came a second time with Barry John Foley to triumph in the concluding winners of two.
Survival took up the running before two out except that Ches Calls Time, homebred by Healy’s wife Grainne, wouldn’t go away and the recent Dromahane runner-up stormed to the fore as the line approached to deny Norman Lee’s charge by a half-length in what was the closest finish of the afternoon.
Survival’s rider Ciaran Fennessy was also out of luck in the second division of the six-year-old geldings’ maiden for his mount Armarissis, trained by Eugene O’Sullivan, was well and truly in command when falling at the final fence. Armarissis’ demise enabled the James Hannon-ridden Knowhentofoldem (7/1), owned and trained by Dan Lordan from Ballinadee, to beat long-time leader Eral Of Inchiquin by ten lengths.
James Sheehan’s Just Bill (11/10) recorded a facile success in the confined hunt maiden, much to the consternation of the 15 bookmakers present.
The five-year-old Just Bill, owned and bred by Sheehan’s father John, led from the second last to dismiss Ronova by five lengths under Richie Kiely and by doing so, the son of Blueprint was vindicating the promise of his third-placed effort at Ballynoe last month.