Gabrielleamee gets Hurley off the mark

It was a red-letter occasion for 20-year-old Johnny Hurley at yesterday’s Avondhu Foxhounds point-to-point fixture at Knockanard for he rode his first winner aboard Jimmy Mangan’s Gabrielleamee in the closing six-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden.

On an afternoon that saw two favourites winning on the six-race card, last month’s Dungarvan sixth Gabrielleamee (10/1) made smooth progress from before the second last of the 14 obstacles to join issue with Cloud Of Gold on the stiff ascent from this penultimate fence.

The winning daughter of Cloudings, owned by Mangan’s brother Billy and bred by the pair’s niece Andrea Mangan, then assumed command from the last to beat Cloud Of Gold by a length.

Winning handler Mangan remarked: “Johnny works with me at home and he’s a real up and coming rider. He rode two horses for me at Tallow last Sunday and I couldn’t believe how well he rode them. Gabrielleamee meanwhile will now go for the Gain Mares’ Final at Ballynoe next month, it’s worth €4,000 to the winner this year.”

Damian Murphy will have attained immense satisfaction from his success aboard Just Georgie (5/1) in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden as he also trains the successful British-bred, an own-brother to Fergal O’Brien’s listed bumper winning mare The Govaness.

The previously twice-raced Just Georgie stormed into the lead at the third last and he was clearly travelling best on the incline from two out. Whilst runner-up Rolling Thunder closed approaching the last, the victorious son of Kayf Tara still obliged by two lengths whilst favourite Powerful Symbol ran a race rich in promise by returning a similar margin adrift in third spot. Just Georgie, sporting the colours of Murphy’s long-time ally Joe ‘Frog’ O’Sullivan from Derrinagree, is now likely to be offered for sale.

Eugene O’Sullivan was the only individual to depart with two winners, the handler completing his brace courtesy of last month’s Aghabullogue winner Drawn N Drank (2/1) in the novice riders’ open.

Drawn N Drank was sent into the lead by Newmarket-based Turlough O’Connor four out and, whilst coming under pressure on the approach to the final fence, the former dual track scorer still readily beat former Thyestes Chase runner-up Tullintain by four lengths. O’Sullivan now plans to run Drawn N Drank, representing his sister-in-law Irene Walsh, in another open before deciding on future plans.

O’Sullivan was earlier on the mark when Longueville Flier (4/1), partnered by his talented five lb claiming son Eoin, landed the six and seven-year-old geldings’ maiden.

Longueville Flier, who showed more than a semblance of ability by finishing sixth at the post-Christmas Dromahane fixture on December 30th, went to the front after two out and he had sufficient reserved of stamina left to fend off the renewed effort of recent Dungarvan runner-up Royal Haslar by a length in the closing stages.

Royal Haslar’s rider Declan Queally later combined with Pat O’Connor to capture the three-runner adjacent hunts maiden with Time Is Time (4/5), who pulled up on his initial outing at Tallow the previous Sunday.

A six-year-old, Time Is Time led from two out and he was clearly travelling better than runner-up Ash Park when Paddy Moakley’s charge made a horrendous final fence blunder from which rider Brian Linehan did well to recover from. The Golan-sired Time Is Time, representing Eileen O’Connor from Rathcormac, is out of a half-sister to Turtle Gale, whom handler O’Connor also sent out to win this same race in 2010.

The Louis Archdeacon-trained Eala Beag (7/2), who was fitted with cheekpieces, became the only animal to benefit from frontrunning tactics when supplementing her Ballyvodock success from two weeks earlier under owner Jacqueline McGrath’s 18-year-old daughter Stella McGrath in the mares’ winners of two.

The nine-year-old Eala Beag, now a possible for the mares’ hunters chase at Cork over Easter, readily fought off Bennys Girl on the approach to the final fence to score by one and a half lengths with a three and a half length break to the third-placed Curraghmore Girl.

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