A huge disappointment when favourite for the valuable Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at Killarney’s May meeting, the Willie Mullins-trained four-year-old Security Breach captured the Jack Duggan Memorial Handicap in emphatic style, keeping favourite USA at bay by two and a quarter lengths with the flattering Raggetagglegypsy a close third.
“He jumped a bit better today and bounces off that ground,” said Mullins, who trains the Red Clubs gelding for Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud. “He’s a real summer horse and I’ve had Galway in mind for him for a while. He’ll probably go to Killarney on the way there.”
Another likely Guinness Galway Hurdle contender is the Harry Rogers-trained Giant’s Quest, which opened his account over timber when justifying 8/13 favouritism in the Follow Gowran Park On Facebook Maiden Hurdle.
The 119-rated seven-year-old forged clear on the run-in to beat Fairview Star by five and a half lengths. Rogers declared: “He was entitled to win a maiden, on his rating. We have plenty of options for him. He’ll probably go to Bellewstown next and he might end up in the Galway Hurdle.”
The Andy Lynch-trained Zabani made it two from three over hurdles when getting the better of Hurricane Ridge in the www.gowranpark.ie 4-Y-0 Hurdle. Ridden again by Robbie Colgan, the Halling gelding edged ahead at the third last flight (where the runner-up met some interference) and stayed on stoutly to triumph by three-quarters of a length.
Lynch said: “He’s a nice horse, with plenty of boot. The penny is beginning to drop with him and his jumping is nearly right. He only made one mistake today. This is his ground and we’ll have to look for a novice for him somewhere, maybe Galway.”
The father and son combination of Pat and Jack Doyle, successful with Annie Other in Wexford on Wednesday. struck again when Ballinalacken proved best in the opening Goresbridge Maiden Hurdle. The winning trainer said: “He was unlucky not to win a point-to-point, but is a nice type of horse, ideal for England.”
Danny Mullins earned praise form trainer Tom Nagle after partnering 20/1 shot Best Value to victory over Drumfire and Golden Wonder in the Paulstown Maiden Hurdle.
Nagle said of the six lengths winner: “He needed that ground and Danny gave him a great ride. I though he’d struggle to win a handicap off his mark (106) and I’m not sure what the handicapper will do to him after this.”
Henry de Bromhead commented: “His jumping is deadly,” after Alexander Leaving, in the colours of J P McManus, wore down Admiral Hawke to capture the Callan Handicap Hurdle. “He struggled in winter ground, but enjoyed it out there. He’ll go chasing sooner rather than later.”
Bach To Whitingbay, ridden by Declan Queally, rounded off a memorable week for Dungarvan-based Richard Morrissey when landing the grief-stricken first division of the bumper in the hands of Declan Queally.
No less than six horses came to grief turning for home — an incident sparked by a fatal fall to longtime leader Once And For All while Nina Carberry was removed to hospital for x-ray on a suspected broken collarbone, having been unseated from Kilaspy (subsequently withdrawn) on the way to the start. However, she later tweeted that she was “just sore.”
But Morrissey, who trains his horses on Clonea beach, had good reason to celebrate, having saddled his first winner under rules in Wexford on Wednesday and commented: “Mine is a point-to-point yard and we have only three horses in for the summer. This fellow won a point-to-point and, hopefully I’ll be able to sell him.”
A return to Galway is on the cards for trainer Colin McBratney and owner Cathal McGovern with Butney Rock following his battling victory, under a determined Katie Walsh, in the second division of the bumper. McBratney and McGovern enjoyed their biggest success when Ballyholland won the 2003 Galway Plate. Butney Rock, a six-year-old Beat All gelding, will probably contest a maiden hurdle in Ballybrit.