A daughter of Montjeu, Silky showed definite signs of inexperience on the fast ground and tight track, but knuckled down well for Billy Lee in the closing stages to get the better of the Pat Smullen-ridden favourite Sharp Crisp Air, which had attempted to make all. A length and a quarter separated them at the line, the pair finishing six and a half lengths clear of the third.
Winning trainer Wachman commented: “She’s a nice big filly and we decided last year to take our time with her. She needs good ground, so we had to wait. But she could be nice and will run in some of the good mile-and-a-half fillies races, like the ‘Noblesse’ and the ‘Give Thanks’.
Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen gave punters something to cheer about when 4/6 favourite Treasure The Ridge gained a hard-earned victory over Noble Call in the Fethard Maiden.
Smullen dictated the pace on the Galileo gelding, shook off the attentions of Massini’s Trap early in the straight before being tackled and headed briefly by the runner-up.
But the former champion’s strength proved crucial as Treasure The Ridge fought back to triumph by three-quarters of a length.
“That was a battling performance and the strength of the jockey was required,” commented Weld. “He has been consistent and that is probably his best trip. He’ll slip back to handicapping now.”
In the flat handicaps, the Andy Oliver-trained Stephen Hero proved a fortunate shorthead winner of the Girls Night Out At Clonmel Races Handicap as longtime leader Sceilg, ridden by 10lb. claimer Daniel Redmond, drifted across the track in the straight and finished along the stands rail.
Winning rider Chris Hayes said: “It was far too quick for him around here. He really wants a mile and a half and an ease in the ground. He was probably lucky to win, but should keep improving.”
The father and son combination of Gerry and Colin Keane captured the Jossestown Handicap with 9/2 favourite The Black Devil, which made all and stuck to his task tenaciously, prompting the winning trainer to comment: “It’s good that he got his head in front at last. He’s a big raw horse and was very backward. He only started getting his act together towards the end of the Dundalk season. And he might go for a similar handicap in Fairyhouse next, as long as the ground is good or fast.”
Highlight of the hurdle action was the victory of the well-backed Noel Meade-trained Elijah Gardner over Willie Mullins’ Bally Longford, from which he was receiving 14lb. in the Clonacody Maiden Hurdle.
Meade admitted: “I was worried that the ground was so quick. But he loved it, bounced off it and jumped better on it. The longer trip suited him too. We’ll look for a ‘novice’ for him, and he’ll probably run in a two-mile maiden on the flat.”
Lame after her racecourse debut at Leopardstown in January and given plenty of time to recover, the well-backed former ‘pointer’ Late Night Deed landed the concluding mares maiden hurdle in emphatic style under Paul Townend.
The promising daughter of Midnight Legend is trained by Gareth Power, who stated: “She was lame after running in bad ground at Leopardstown and isn’t back in long. She jumps for fun and is a good one.”