Workmanlike Very Wood makes solid start to his chasing career

Cheltenham Festival winner Very Wood made a solid start to his career over fences with a workmanlike success at Galway yesterday.

Workmanlike Very Wood makes solid start to his chasing career

Noel Meade’s five-year-old was a 33-1 winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in March, but failed to fire on his only subsequent appearance at Punchestown in late April.

A 1-2 favourite for the W.B. Gavin & Co EBF Beginners Chase, Very Wood jumped well in the main in the hands of Bryan Cooper and loomed up ominously along the back straight.

Odds-on backers were made to sweat, however, as he was unorganised at the final fence and briefly had to be shaken up by Cooper on landing before coming back on the bridle at the top of the straight.

The Job Is Right kept Very Wood honest in the straight and Cooper had to resort to his whip to make sure of the victory, but he was ultimately well on top as he passed the post a length and a half to the good.

Cooper said: “He’s loads of scope and jumped well but would probably be better on a more galloping track.

“He got the job done, and chasing will be his game.

Meade’s representative, Nina Carberry, said: “That was a nice introduction.

“I’d imagine Noel will be looking at the good novice races, and maybe something like the Drinmore (Fairyhouse).

“He never does a lot in front.”

Adrian Heskin rode his first winner for new boss Barry Connell as Black Benny clung on for victory in the Ennis Lifts Handicap Chase.

Leading owner Connell announced last week Heskin would become his new retained rider, replacing previous number one Danny Mullins, and it did not take long for the new partnership to find the target.

The Shane Broderick-trained Black Benny was a 5-1 shot for his two-and-three-quarter-mile assignment and turned into the straight chasing down Aranhill Chief and Rogue Angel.

Black Benny picked up to run to the lead and although Rogue Angel made a real race of it, Broderick’s charge held on by a neck.

Connell said: “He looked well handicapped on his second to King Vuvuzela and he'd a nice run on the Flat at Roscommon. Adrian said he was getting tired at the end.

“He wants goodish ground, and maybe he’ll go for a handicap at Leopardstown over Christmas.

“He had a leg (injury) and was off for a year but has been a grand old servant.

“Adrian is very good over an obstacle, and is strong in a finish. He’s got all you’d need in a rider.

“He’s spent quite a bit of time with Enda Bolger. Enda is a good judge and rates him highly.”

Heskin said: “It’s great to get off the mark for Barry and hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here.”

Heskin went on to complete a double on the afternoon, while Danny Mullins also hit the board twice.

The former completed his brace aboard the Richard Cotter-trained Ronava (11-2), who ran away with the Corrib Food Products Handicap Hurdle.

“He travelled really well and is a chaser in the making,” said Heskin.

Mullins got the day off to a flying start, making every yard of the running aboard 3-1 shot Mumbo Bay, trained by his mother, Mags, in the Barna Recycling Rated Novice Hurdle.

The trainer said: “He loved that ground – he likes a little bit of juice but he wouldn’t want bottomless ground.

“He’s a horse that’ll go over a fence next year.”

Mullins later steered Battling Boru (8-1) to success in the John Mulholland Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle for his father, Tony.

Sean O’Brien’s Cloudy Rock (2-1 favourite) benefited from a well-judged front-running ride from Paul Townend to win the Mares Maiden Hurdle.

O’Brien said: “She wasn’t in that long before she ran at Tipperary and wasn’t fit enough.

“She was also taken on from flag-fall while she had an easier lead. She’s probably a bit better going right-handed as well.”

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