Heffernan doubles up in ultra-tight photo finishes

Seamus Heffernan took the riding honours on the second day of the Tramore Festival, completing a double on Moveable Asset and Dimaond Pro, both of his winners prevailing by the narrowest margin, a nose, in ultra-tight photo finishes.

The versatile, Willie Mullins-trained Moveable Asset got up on the line to foil front-running Manuka in the EY Rated Race, prompting his trainer to admit: “We knew he liked it around here but this was his last chance after he disappointed us in Wexford the last day. He’ll mix it and will, hopefully, win another hurdle.”

Similarly the judge had to split Heffernan’s mount Diamond Pro, trained by John Murphy, and Dermot McLoughlin’s grey mare Ocean Bright in the Like Tramore Racecourse On Facebook Handicap.

Raised 11lb. for an emphatic win at Ballinrobe on Monday, Crystal Earth carried her mandatory penalty to victory over Baracas in the finale, the Fruity Stakes Handicap. Ridden by champion apprentice Ronan Whelan, the progressive mare swept past the flattering Golan Guy with more than a furlong to race and was always holding the later effort of the runner-up, to continue trainer Peter Fahey’s rich vein of summer form.

Ger O’Leary’s decision to claim Jan Van Eyck out of a Navan claimer in June is certainly paying off as the gelding made it two from two for his new handler when justifying even-money favouritism in the Follow tramoreracecourse On Twitter Rated Race.

Having tracked Stepping Down, Shane Foley sent Jan Van Eyck clear before the home-turn and he stayed on stoutly to keep Flight Of The Saker at bay by two lengths.

Trainer O’Leary was not present but confirmed, by phone, that Jan Van Eyck will now head to Killarney later this month before being launched on a hurdling career.

Always a force at Tramore, Eoin Doyle saddled the well-backed veteran Dusty Trail, ridden by Danny Grant, to land the opening claimer, skipping clear on the turn for home to beat Mighty Whitey by two and a half lengths.

“He loves it around here and this was the only race for him this week — so it was ideal,” stated Doyle. “I know he’s getting older, but he has been a grand servant.”

Shane Gray, in double form on Thursday night, struck again when partnering Kims Dream to a convincing victory over Sabaidee in the Fourth Time Lucky Handicap.

The six-year-old mare, which was following-up a win at Wexford last month, is trained by Noel Dooly, originally from Tramore, but now based in Clonroche, County Wexford, who explained: “We’ve managed to rejuvenate her and, to be honest, this was Plan B after the ground turned against her and we decided not to run her in the mares hurdle. She’s in again at Roscommon Monday and will probably go there.”

Another rider to hit the target on the opening two days of the meeting — Emmet McNamara — triumphed on Cin Cin, which Andy Heffernan trains for his wife, Margaret, in the Ashtown House Stud Fillies Maiden.

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