Smullen works magic on Nidhaam

Pat Smullen was seen at his absolute best when driving the Dermot Weld-trained Nidhaam to victory in the Mullinahone Fillies Maiden at sun-drenched Clonmel last night.

Smullen works magic on Nidhaam

The daughter of Nayef landed a fair old gamble to boot, taken as high as 5-2 in the morning and also strong on track, going off the 5-4 favourite.

She tried to make all of the running, but appeared in a spot of bother when headed under two furlongs down by Fanzine.

But Smullen, the champion jockey-elect, now on the 92-winner mark for the season, was in no mood to accept defeat and drove the three-year-old for all he was worth.

Gradually, Nidhaam fought back and was on top close home to beat Fanzine by a head.

Said Smullen: “We always thought she was capable of winning a race like this. In fairness, the undulations didn’t suit, she kept changing her legs.”

Coolfighter is proving some buy for Enniscorthy, Co Wexford trainer, Noel Dooly. He was bought out of the Tony Mullins yard for just €10,000, after winning a claiming race at Tramore, and has now scored three times for his new trainer.

Coolfighter is certainly proving a lucky horse in more ways than one, considering that his previous success at Wexford came after Colin Keane, who rode the original winner, Unrequited, failed to weigh in.

Seamie Heffernan pushed Coolfighter into the lead in the Cahir Handicap with less than a furlong to run to beat the flattering Moonmeister by two lengths.

Said Dooly: “I know we got lucky the last day, but that man (Heffernan) was fuming with the ride he gave him. He might head to Listowel, but when the ground is gone he will be gone.”

Connor King gave Pat Martin’s Oceania Queen a fine drive to take the Tickincor Handicap.

He produced the daughter of Oratorio to lead over a furlong out and she scampered away to beat Ed Led Jed and finally open her account.

Commented Martin: “I very nearly gave up on this one a long time ago. She wants an ease and I was delighted to see yielding in the going description. She’s very honest and tries hard.”

Jonathan Burke, fresh from landing the job as first jockey to Alan and Ann Potts, has since wasted no time getting the winners and was on the mark again aboard Saltmills Blackie in the New Inn Opportunity Maiden Hurdle.

Trained by Henry de Bromhead, Saltmills Blackie flew the final two flights and was nicely in control in the closing stages.

“He got a lovely ride from Jonathan and will now go straight over fences,” reported de Bromhead.

Winner number two for de Bromhead arrived in the next when Barry Cash guided Pierlow to victory in the Giantsgrave Handicap Hurdle.

Cash made his move over the fifth last and Pierlow did the rest, finding plenty all the way up the straight.

“That was a super ride from Barry, I’m delighted for him, it’s the first winner he has ridden for me,” said de Bromhead.

The Denis Hogan-trained and ridden Island Villa justified favouritism when taking the Mylerstown Maiden Hurdle.

He made every yard of the running, but had to be bustled along by Hogan from the back of the last to hold Attraction Ticket.

“It’s good to get that, he has had a few near misses,” said Hogan. “All credit to Lorcan Wyer (clerk of the course) and his team. They have done a serious job, the ground is good, good to firm, but safe.”

Ross Coakley was good on 20-1 shot Table Forty Six to land the modest ten furlongs Tipperary Claiming Race.

Trained by Denis Cullen, the winner made all of the running, staying on strongly in the straight, as they queued in behind to have a go at her.

The odds-on favourite, Prince Jock, fresh from scoring on the strand at Laytown, ran no sort of race and was beaten a long way out.

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