Burke shines on Plan Man

Jonathan Burke gave the Tony Martin-trained The Plan Man a delightful drive to land the Kerrymaid Hurdle on the first afternoon of the Listowel festival yesterday.

Burke shines on Plan Man

The heavily backed favourite, Queen Alphabet, tried to make all of the running, but had no more to offer coming away from the second last, as Burke pushed his charge into lead.

The Plan Man had a slight advantage over Shamar jumping the final flight and then eased away on the flat, with Burke only requesting the minimum.

The youngster, of course, was recently appointed as first jockey to Alan and Ann Potts, but was donning, arguably, even more famous colours here, those of the Gigginstown House Stud.

Said Burke: “This is a quick horse. He quickened up the straight, then quickened again after the last and will have no problem jumping a fence.”

The 18-year-old completed a double, his second since turning professional, when giving Henry de Bromhead’s Lord Ben a dashing drive to take the Kerry Group Handicap Chase.

Lord Ben had to hump top weight, but travelled and jumped beautifully through the contest, making all to easily beat Back Off Mate.

Commented de Bromhead: “He ran a blinder in the Galway Plate and just didn’t get home. He loves this place and two and a half miles is ideal.”

The superb Paul Carberry made a successful return from injury when landing the Cheestrings Beginners Chase aboard Thomond. Noel Meade’s six-year-old gave an exhibition of jumping and front running, coasting home comfortably clear of Time Please.

Carberry, who had been absent since breaking his collarbone at Killarney on July 15, said: “That felt good, it would be great if they all jumped like him.’

Said Meade: “He jumped brilliantly, the horse worked great the other day and they enjoyed each other!”

Edward O’Grady’s Hell Cat Maggie completed a hat trick with a fine display in the Low Low EBF Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

Confidently handled by Barry Geraghty, this superb jumper swept past the front-running Ballychorus in the straight to win going away by five and a half lengths.

Said O’Grady: “It is lovely to have a three-time winner. We were going to go jumping fences, but will delay it a little now. Good ground seems to be very important to her.”

Celtic Artisan, who was well beaten behind Verawal at Down Royal, reversed the form in no uncertain manner in the Kerry Group three-year-old Hurdle.

Verawal had every chance, but was disappointing, failing to raise his tempo when the race began in earnest in the straight. He was subsequently found to have suffered a cut on his right fore leg.

In contrast, the winner found plenty from the back of the final flight for Mark Enright and was always holding the newcomer, Credulous, in the closing stages.

“He was good, quickened up well and is a nice horse,” reported the more than capable Enright.

The festival didn’t get off to the best of starts, with the opening Charleville Cheese Maiden Hurdle producing a 1-3 shot in Willie Mullins’ Bosman Rule.

He duly obliged, although his jumping left plenty to be desired, a mixture of competent and, at times, rather awkward.

In any case, Paul Townend allowed him to lead coming away from three out and Bosman Rule soon eased clear to score by 14 lengths.

Mullins’ brother, Tony, rounded off the day by saddling market leader, Fearachain, to win the Kerry Group Bumper.

Fearachain forged ahead over a furlong down and was soon clear to give Mullins a welcome turn.

“I’d imagine he will now go hurdling, when there is a nice cut in the ground,” said Mullins. “He does jump nicely.”

The Craigsteel gelding is owned by the trainer’s sister, Sandra McCarthy, and was ridden by his nephew, David Mullins.

The stewards found Paul Power, who rode Mr Picotee, guilty of failing to allow his mount time to respond and he was suspended for one day.

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