The victory of Rocket Man in the four-mile open lightweight, a race staged in memory of the late Tim Finn who was trainer Edward O’Grady’s long-standing head lad, was an extra special one for owner/trainer Halley as the seven-year-old was partnered to victory by his son Josh. Rocket Man (7/1), a distant fourth to Slippers Percy on his points debut at Horse And Jockey, moved through to overtake Powerstation and Dancing Dik after the third last of the 21 obstacles.
It was all plain sailing from here as the former four-time French track winner asserted to beat gallant veteran Powerstation by 12 lengths, the pair being the only finishers.
“It’s great to win this race in honour of Tim Finn, whom I learned a lot from in my younger days as a vet,” said Halley. “Rocket Man has come on a lot from his first points run and he will hopefully now make into a nice open lightweight horse.”
Pa King partnered Tramore native Halley’s initial winner As Jussiniere (6/1) in the four-year-old maiden. As Jussiniere, a son of Sprinter Sacre’s sire Network, however was two lengths adrift of the leader Feather Lane and appearing beaten in second spot when Donnchadh Doyle’s charge fell at the final fence. As Jussiniere, bought privately in France as a foal, was then left clear to beat the promising Redmond by two lengths.
The Robert Tyner-trained Farriers Gold (evens – 4/6) hinted that a bright track career lies in wait by landing the first division of the seven and eight-year-old geldings’ maiden in the hands of Derek O’Connor. Farriers Gold, an eyecatching second behind Adams Wood on his return to the fray at Dromahane last month, always travelled with purpose and the winning son of Gold Well stylishly asserted from the second last to defeat ex-track performer Caballo De Marcus by five lengths in the colours of the Ballinadee Syndicate.
Lisronagh is a sharp left-handed circuit that lends itself to front-running and Kieran Purcell’s Night Moon (5/2) was never headed with Declan Queally in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden. Night Moon, although erring at the final two fences, still defeated Gunshycowboy by a length and the winning son of King’s Theatre will now be kept on the go for the summer.
Eoin Griffin’s Our Benny (3/1), a graduate of the 2012 August sale at Fairyhouse, similarly made virtually all when staying on stoutly for current novice riders championship leader Rob James to beat Castletown Warrior by one and a half lengths in the first division of the six-year-old geldings’ maiden.
Likewise front-running tactics worked the oracle when Smoothie Press On (4/1), owned and trained by Danny O’Connell, recorded a pillar-to-post success with Gerry Mangan in the grief-stricken second division of this same contest.
Churchtown native David Joseph O’Leary is experiencing a fine campaign and the north Corkonian struck aboard Robert Honner’s Rohan’s Pride (6/4) in the second split of the seven and eight-year-old geldings’ maiden, the white-faced chestnut drawing clear from before the last to thwart Colman Sweeney’s mount Wakynama by five lengths.