Load gives Burke perfect start to new job

Jonathan Burke made the perfect start in his new role as Alan and Ann Potts’ retained jockey when partnering the Henry de Bromhead-trained Loosen My Load to a convincing win in the Ryans Cleaning Chase in Galway yesterday.

On his first ride in the Potts colours since his appointment, the teenager drove the 10-year-old, without a win since 2011, up the Ballybrit hill to beat Armaramak by three and a quarter lengths.

Burke was understandably delighted. “It was a pleasure to ride him — he just jumped and travelled,” he said.

“It’s a great start in my new job, which is a great opportunity. This horse wasn’t suited by the hustle and bustle of the big handicap in Killarney — the small field suited him much better tonight.”

The winning trainer, who explained that Loosen My Load was for sale in recent weeks, added: “The key to this horse is the ground – he needs real good ground. And, when conditions are right, he’s a class-act.”

When quizzed about Burke’s new role, De Bromhead replied: “He seems to be a very good young rider and gave this horse a super ride. He’s a nice lad and, hopefully, all will go well.”

The featured Guinness handicap Chase produced an exciting climax as the Jimmy Finn-trained Coldstonesober came from last to first to lead close home and beat longtime leader Dazzing Susie with 2012 winner and top-weight Fosters Cross third.

Kevin Sexton was making it two from two on Finn’s charge, having partnered him to victory at Navan on Saturday. Finn said: “I thought he had plenty to do, but they went quick up front, which suited him. As long as the weather stays fine and he’s enjoying himself, we’ll keep him busy over hurdles and fences.”

Flaxen Flare, who took a crashing fall with Davy Condon in a race won by Plinth at Cork last month, made amends in the Galway City & Salthill Publicans Charity Hurdle, proving too strong for Plinth on the run-in to score by two lengths under Barry Geraghty.

Winning trainer Gordon Elliott said: “This horse is Davy’s ride and it’s very unfortunate that he’s out of action. It’s hard to say what would have happened the last day. But he won well and had no problem with the trip. He will stay hurdling for now and we’ll wait to go chasing next year.”

After near-misses with Draco, Waver and Plinth over the two days at Ballybrit, JP McManus and Aidan O’Brien combined to win the Galway City & Salthill Publicans Handicap Hurdle with 16/1 shot Noah Webster, who got the better of She’s A Leader and Portrade. Noah Webster was ridden by Robbie Power, who said: “Being fresh is the key to this horse and he picked up well.”

The McManus colours were back in the winner’s enclosure when 1/4 favourite Please Talk (Mark Walsh) made all to land the four-runner Eventus Beginners Chase, shaking off the attentions of Abarta early on the run-in to triumph by seven and a half lengths.

“I didn’t think it would take this long for him to win over fences,” admitted trainer Noel Meade, “he needs three miles plus and will go back handicapping.”

Built to be a chaser, the Arthur Moore-trained Dandridge justified 4/6 favouritism in the opening Mervue Maiden Hurdle, making all under David Casey to score in the colours of Ronnie Bartlett, best known for the exploits of Simonsig.

The Tom Mullins-trained Princely Conn was collared close home and beaten a head by recent Kilbeggan winner Sheamus (Johnnie King) in the www.galwayraces.com Flat race.

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