Both of Winters’ winners were partnered by Mikey O’Connor, the duo signing off with Theatre Princess in the fiercely-competitive mares’ winners of two.
Pops Well set off with the intention of making all in this 12-runner contest except that Theatre Princess (4/1) stormed past after the penultimate of the 16 obstacles.
Whilst Eala Beag closed with Bandon-based Stella McGrath on the run-in, Theatre Princess was in no mood to be denied and she ultimately fought off Louis Archdeacon’s charge by a neck in what was the closest finish of the afternoon.
Theatre Princess, owned by Eamon Tarrant from Gurteen outside Kanturk, will continue running in points for the foreseeable future with a steeplechase campaign likely to feature later on.
Winters and O’Connor were earlier on the mark with Missed Cloud (1/2) in the five and six-year-old mares’ maiden, an event that attracted just three runners. Missed Cloud, who showed promise despite falling on her two starts last term, made most of the running but her jumping was far from perfect.
The winning daughter of Cloudings was well on top from the third last except that she gave her supporters heart palpitations by blundering at the final fence, four lengths then separating her from the only other finisher Rose Of Milan.
O’Connor actually rode three winners, the Liscarroll amateur also collecting the opening four-year-old maiden aboard Conor Casey’s Arden Denis (4/1).
It can however be argued that the ultra-consistent Arden Denis had luck on his side for long-time leader Rough King, trained by Donnchadh Doyle, was clearly travelling best with a two-length advantage when falling at the final fence.
Arden Denis, a graduate of last year’s Derby sale, was then left clear to beat favourite Thanks In Advance by four lengths.
Pocket Reader has developed into a prolific hunt racing performer and the British-bred had little more than an exercise canter when recording his eighth career success in the novice riders open.
Owned and ridden by Irene Walsh, Pocket Reader (evens) eased past long-time leader Isourbell on the run to two out to slam Sean Aherne’s charge by five lengths.
Trainer Eugene O’Sullivan is now likely to run Pocket Reader in the Ballindenisk open on December 1st.
O’Sullivan’s 21-year-old daughter Maxine, a former joint-ladies champion rider, opened her account for the season aboard David Finn’s Pairc Na Leasa (4/1) in the closing six-year-old and upwards maiden.
The recent Kinsale runner-up Pairc Na Leasa, running in first time cheekpieces, eased past the frontrunning Bashful Beauty on the run to two out to oblige by a ridiculously-easy ten lengths.
A tilt at a two and a half mile Cork handicap hurdle on December 8th is now likely to feature for Pairc Na Leasa.
Racegoers were treated to a gripping finish in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden with Inistioge-based handler John Clifford’s Brandon Hill (6/1), a son of Beneficial that’s owned and bred by Michael Rafter from Kilkenny city, overcoming a final fence blunder with JJ Slevin to overhaul the gallant pacesetter Buster Dan Dan inside the final 50 yards to score by a half-length.