On an afternoon that witnessed some seven races, recent Kilworth scorer Seventh Sign (11/8) was always positioned at the head of affairs in this vintage 13-runner contest and the victorious five-year-old had Valentinos Choice for company until the latter weakened as the runners set out on the final circuit.
Runner-up Wayupinthesky made smooth progress on the inner to go second on the approach to the penultimate of the 12 obstacles.
There was little to separate the pair thereafter and as the line approached, Seventh Sign got on top to score by a head with a six-length break to the third-placed Davy From Milan.
Maguire remarked: “Seventh Sign jumps very well for a five-year-old and I’m delighted with him. We will run him again after Christmas, but I have not even looked up the calendar yet to see what hunter chases he’s qualified for.”
Seventh Sign’s rider Declan Queally partnered two winners, the Cappagh amateur opening his account aboard Mary Hallahan’s roan Mai Fitzs Jack (2/1) in the first division of the five-year-old geldings’ maiden, one of three races on the card that saw just eight fences jumped due to the low-lying sun.
Frontrunning tactics once again proved successful for Mai Fitzs Jack, placed on two out of his three forays last term, made all the running and he stylishly asserted on the run to the last to see off Black Glen Boy by three lengths. Mai Fitzs Jack is shared by Larry Buckley, proprietor of Mai Fitzs’ pub in Lissarda, with Ger Fitzgerald and a track campaign is now likely to beckon.
Barry John Foley similarly recorded a brace, the Charleville native signing off aboard Noel Henley’s Kilworth runner-up Bennys Girl (5/4) in the closing five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden.
Bennys Girl, who blundered five out, effortlessly went to the front after three out and she was well in command when erring at the final fence with six lengths then separating the Denis Tarrant-owned ex-track performer from Jeanette Riordan’s Comebackgirl.
Foley was earlier on the mark aboard Welcome Bach (10/1), an initial runner of the season for four-horse Tallow handler Alan Tobin, in the second division of the five-year-old geldings’ maiden.
The white-faced chesnut Welcome Bach always travelled with purpose and he was left in pole position when fractional leader Sid Seven fell two out. Tobin later dedicated the victory of Welcome Bach to his grandfather Kevin Allen, who sadly passed away last year having bred the triumphant son of Bach. Welcome Bach is now owned by Kevin Allen’s widow Sarah.
There was yet another local success in the opening four-year-old mares’ maiden as Conna-based owner/trainer Helen O’Connor’s Special Princess (5/1), a dual runner-up last season, got the better of uneasy favourite Twenty Eight Guns in a gripping finish.
The Eoin O’Brien-ridden Special Princess led from two out and she was travelling marginally better than Twenty Eight Guns from the final fence, a half-length the ultimate winning margin. Special Princess, bred by Dr Joe O’Keeffe from Tallow, is now likely to be prepared for a hurdling campaign.
Ballindee-based owner/trainer Dan Lordan struck with ex-hurdler Knowhentofoldem (6/1) in the winners’ of one.
Second on his previous two starts this autumn at Castletown-Geoghegan and Loughrea, Knowhentofoldem was left at the head of affairs with James Hannon when marginal leader Aurora Bell cruelly ran out approaching the last and the successful seven-year-old then came home with three lengths to spare over Lule Kyle.
The Eoin Doyle-trained Dr Waluigi (4/1), who finished fourth in a Limerick bumper in March, booked his ticket to next month’s Brightwells Cheltenham sale by capturing the four-year-old geldings’ maiden.
The Shirocco-sired Dr Waluigi responded to Pat Collins’ urgings from two out by edging ahead at the final fence and he was in no mood to be denied in the closing stages as he fought off Ballydine by a half-length in the colours of Jamie Dunphy from Mooncoin.