Cillian’s Return gets off the mark over flights in style

Cillian’s Return, bought out of Bill Farrell’s by J P McManus after taking a bumper at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day, made a winning start for his new connections when easily taking the Michael Maher Building And Construction Services Maiden Hurdle at Tipperary last night.

Now trained by Tony Martin, the promising five-year-old was always travelling sweetly, despite some indifferent jumping.

He was none too clever over the second last, nor was the challenging Patsio, but soon moved on and only had to be asked to do the minimum by Mark Walsh to beat Poetic Lord by three and a half lengths.

Frank Berry did the honours and said: “He has a bit to learn about jumping, he rushes his hurdles.

“We will keep going with him for a while and find a winners’ of one.”

The McManus colours were back in the winner’s enclosure after the Michael Hourigan-trained 12-1 shot Give Me A Break popped up at 12-1 in the first division of the Ryans’ Cleaning Event Specialists Handicap Hurdle.

Partnered by in-form Adrian Heskin, the daughter of Scorpion coasted into the lead well before the second last to score by seven lengths.

Said Hourigan: “She’s been very disappointing, but the weather helped and has just come right.”

Martin, on the mark with Cillian’s Return, completed a double when well-backed Mydor took the second section of the same contest.

The winner was a little awkward at the last, but rallied well on the flat for Shane Shortall and was nicely on top of the gallant veteran, Marshim, close home.

Henry de Bromhead’s Clonbanan Lad was best for money in the Kedrah House Stud Well Chosen Beginners Chase, but proved no match for Tom Foley’s Followmeuptocarlow.

Clonbanan Lad looked the likely winner early in the straight, but found nothing when the pressure was applied and the winner, given a fine drive by Paul Townend, eased past heading to the final fence to score with his head in his chest.

“We’ve always seemed to find one to good for us”, exclaimed a relieved Foley. “He’s off on his holidays now.”

The decision to switch Prince Rudi from hurdles back to fences reaped a dividend when the 12-year-old ran way with the Kilfeacle Stud Portrait Gallery Handicap Chase.

Stephen Nolan’s charge was competing off a mark way below his current rating as a chaser and took full advantage of that.

Ridden by Ian McCarthy, Prince Rudi, despite a tendency to jump to his right, eased on coming away from three out and was soon in complete control to win by 14 lengths.

Commented Nolan: “He is a great old veteran and worth his weight in gold. This is a very clean-winded horse and deserved his day over fences.”

A Hardy Nailer, carrying the colours of Eoin O’Mahony from Carrigtwohill and trained by Robert Tyner, powered through in the straight to land the Mares’ Bumper.

Tyner was loud in praise of rider, Derek O’Connor. Said Tyner: “She was very free, but we had a top man on board and he dropped her out. That was the winning of the race, she’s a nice mare.”

Pat O’Connor’s Anseanachai Cliste got the best of a desperate last furlong duel with Firmount Gent to take the Glenview And Rathbarry Stud Novice Hunters Chase.

The son of Bach was partnered by James Hannon, enjoying his third success on the racecourse. “I rode my 50th point-to-point winner last Sunday”, reported a delighted Hannon.

The stewards, however, were none too pleased with Hannon’s use of the whip and he was suspended for five days.

The concluding Point-To-Point Bumper for colts and geldings was won in impressive style by Ground Invasion, who ran clear of market leader, Fiddlers Bow, through the last two furlongs.

Ground Invasion is trained in Co Antrim by Stuart Crawford and was capably handled by his brother, Steven.

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