On an afternoon that saw all six favourites getting beaten, For Carmel (7/2) was always positioned at the front of the eight-runner field and his jumping was virtually faultless in front.
The winning son of Mr Dinos, a half-brother to his handler’s former outstanding racemare For Bill that actually won her maiden at this same meeting in 2009, set sail for home on the approach to the penultimate of the 16 obstacles and he had the race in safekeeping before the final fence. For Carmel then stormed clear to account for recent Dromahane runner-up Jonniesofa by six lengths in the style of a considerably better than average sort with a two and a half length break back to the third-placed Full Cry.
“For Carmel is a cracking big horse that’s over 17hh and he’s only three quarters fit. His owner Donie Sheahan isn’t here today, he was in hospital a little while ago, and this fellow is a horse that he should hopefully get a lot of sport out of,” disclosed the in-form Winters.
For Carmel’s rider Ciaran Fennessy went on to partner two winners, the Fermoy amateur later doubling up aboard Winged Express (8/1) in the winners of two.
Similarly frontrunning tactics worked the oracle here as the triumphant son of Winged Love led from the second fence.
Winged Express however had to be rousted along from three out and Louis Archdeacon’s charge seemed to have a battle on his plate when Leading The Life moved through to challenge on the inner approaching the final fence.
Winged Express though is nothing but tough and he stayed on determinedly on the flat to edge out Leading The Life by a half-length in what was the closest finish of the afternoon.
Eugene O’Sullivan’s Drawn N Drank (9/4 – 2/1) provided 23-year-old Turlough O’Connor with a fifth career success in the five-runner open.
Drawn N Drank stepped up from his third-placed return effort at Ballindenisk in late-November by overtaking long-time leader Lanespark on the run to the final fence to oblige by three lengths in the colours of Irene Walsh, whose husband Fergus is an uncle to the winning rider.
Ms Walsh is now likely to partner Drawn N Drank in the ladies open at Nenagh in just under two weeks time – January 25th.
The Liam Burke-trained Easter In Paris (9/4), placed on four out of her previous five points starts, attained due reward for her consistency in the opening five and six-year-old mares’ maiden.
The hooded Easter In Paris, sporting the silks of her breeder Mary Tynan-Phelan, moved back to the front with Derek O’Connor on the inner after two out and she was always travelling marginally better than market leader Callmarlan thereafter with two lengths ultimately separating the pair. Easter In Paris is likely to be aimed at a hunters chase later in the season.
Killeagh-based owner/trainer Michael Walsh struck with Miss Cliche (6/1), the only animal that he currently has in harness, in the six-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden.
Miss Cliche went to the head of affairs with Colin Motherway, having his only mount of the day, on the descent after two out and last season’s Bandon runner-up then swept clear before the final fence to dismiss Classic Palace by a comprehensive five lengths.
Preists Leap’s dual Thyestes Chase winning handler Thomas O’Leary recorded his first success of the campaign courtesy of Glasslyn Road (8/1) in the closing six-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden.
Glasslyn Road made virtually all the running and, having received a well-executed breather on the descent to the turn-in before the final fence, he powered clear to beat favourite Vanguard by four lengths in the hands of former conditional jockey Stephen O’Donovan (29) from Dunmanway.
Glasslyn Road represents the Glasslyn Four Syndicate which comprise O’Leary’s two uncles Paddy and Den Lehane plus Miriam Murphy and Martin Lane.