Couleur France brushes rivals aside

Couleur France, the clear form horse on his second to the smart Sheamus at Fairyhouse, easily won the Maiden Hurdle at the rainswept Tipperary track yesterday.

Noel Meade’s charge was as short as 4-6 in the morning, but sustained support for his two main rivals, Morney Wing and ex point-to-pointer Marvellous Moment, saw him drift out to 11-10.

Marvellous Moment was in front early in the straight, but the patiently handled Couler France was soon giving chase.

Paul Carberry let out an inch of rein between the final two flights and the winner eased clear, as Marvellous Moment hung away to his left on the run-in.

“He travelled well enough and the longer trip was a help, he will be better going left-handed,” reported Carberry.

“I’m a genius-again,” quipped Mouse Morris after his The Doorman had made a successful debut over fence in the Thurles Beginners Chase.

Owned by JP McManus, he went off a largely unconsidered 11-1 shot, but scored with plenty in hand, after Mark Walsh allowed him to lead over the fourth last.

Morris added: “He was disappointing last season, but I thought this might be his game.”

Charles Byrnes’ Once And Always, available as high as 5-1 in the morning, was taken from 7-2 to 5-2 favourite on track, but fell at the first.

Robert Tyner’s Embracing Change followed his win at Clonmel a week earlier with another smooth display to land the Thurles Handicap Chase.

He jumped well for the most part and travelled beautifully through the contest for David Casey and it always seemed just a matter of when he was requested to put the race to bed.

Casey made his move away from three out and Embracing Change was soon in total control and only asked for the minimum in the closing stages.

Said Tyner: “He came out of his race well the last day and we got away with it. He will probably go to Fairyhouse in three weeks time.”

Another who won at Clonmel the previous Thursday, Shark Hanlon’s Diamond Dame, took the Holycross Handicap Hurdle.

She moved through the race like a dream for Andrew McNamara, but then hit the top of the last and had to be hard driven to hold Flemerelle by a head.

Said Hanlon: “This was the plan after last week and I also planned to run her at Limerick on Sunday. But I won’t now, she wants good ground.”

Bookmakers got a decent result in the Ballagh Mares’ Handicap Hurdle when the Robert Murphy-trained Mrs Mac Veale did the business.

At 16-1, she was the outsider of the field, but stayed on strongly for McNamara, enjoying the first leg of a double, to beat Cloudy Rock, who did her prospects no good with a mistake two out and then showing a marked tendency to hang under pressure.

The layers had no complaints following the Templemore Mares’ Maiden Hurdle either, with 12-1 shot, Mandasini, turning over the market leader, Silver Sally.

Heading to the last, Silver Sally tried to close down the winner, but was none too clever at the obstacle and was soon fighting a losing battle.

Mandasini is trained by Vincent Halley at Kill, Co Waterford and he said: “She kept coming into season over the summer and lost her way a bit.”

The Denis Hogan-trained Neatly Put, taken at fancy prices in the morning, gave rider, John O’Meara, his first success since 2006 when winning the Bumper.

O’Meara pushed him ahead under two furlongs down and Neatly Put was always doing enough to beat Jim Culloty’s Midsommarkransen, who was the third horse of the day to hang when required to go forward. The pilot rides very little these days and his main job is as head-man to Hogan.

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