Paene Magnus registered his fifth win from seven starts on Dundalk’s polytrack when holding odds-on favourite Captain Joy (already qualified for Lingfield on Good Friday) by a half-length in the Carragher’s XT Castleblayney Race, a Fast-Track qualifier for the All-Weather Championships at Lingfield Park on Good Friday.
Bolger’s representative Ger Flynn commented: “He loves the all-weather surface and this was his first run since being gelded, so he should improve.” while Kevin Manning added: “He’s a good-striding horse that handles the surface well. He’s versatile in terms of trip and very straight forward. I’d say he’ll be heading to Lingfield now.”
The Bolger/Manning combination was expected to complete a double in the qualifiers with 4/6 favourite Parish Hall in the finale, the www.valuecentre.ie Race.
But the 2011 Dewhurst Stakes winner, officially rated 112, failed to cope with the Chris Hayes-ridden, 88-rated Shalaman, trained in County Meath by Matthew Smith, who admitted: “It was the owner’s plan to come here for a while and we decided to have a crack at it.”
Hayes tracked the favourite, produced his mount to challenge down the outside and, after a good battle, Shalaman prevailed by a head.
Hayes stated: “The lads told me he had improved two stone, but it was hard to fancy him in this company. But there was no fluke about it. He probably got there too soon, but he’s game as a pebble. We’ll be heading for Lingfield on Good Friday now.”
Donnacha O’Brien struck with an early 32/1 double, scoring on Shinyhappyjohn in the opening six-furlong handicap and following-up with the well-backed Song Of Love (5/2 to 7/4) in the seven-furlong XL Handicap.
Drawn wide but blinkered for the first time, sixteen-race maiden Shinyhappyjohn won convincingly by more than four lengths for trainer James Nash, who also saddled the third Tsar Paul and commented: “I’m delighted for the owners – they’re a long-time waiting. The draw was a worry, but Donnacha didn’t panic and did his own thing. The blinkers obviously made an awful difference.”
Song Of Love provided O’Brien with the second leg of his double when swooping with a well-timed challenge to defy top-weight at the expense of Vocal Warm Up.
The Fastnet Rock gelding is trained by Aidan O’Brien for his wife Anne Marie. Donnacha said: “Things didn’t play out for him last time. But he’s a horse with plenty of pace and he did it well tonight. He’s a lovely, big strong horse and he should go on to better things.”
Bishan Bedi completed a family double for the O’Briens when, ridden by Ana, he proved an emphatic winner of the Muldoon At Drumconrath Handicap, beating Camakasi and The Dancing Lord.
The 5/2 favourite scored by a length and a quarter, promting his rider to comment: “The race worked out well for me. He jumped, travelled and picked up when I asked him. He’s a right little horse and should keep improving.”
Petit Adagio, trained by Dermot Weld for the Moyglare Stud Farm, reversed her debut form with the flattering favourite Maira in the BWG Foods Maiden, holding Shane Foley’s mount by a neck.
Winning rider Pat Smullen explained: “She ran very green first time, but came home well, and improved off that run She’s a filly that doesn’t have a lot of size, but she has a big heart.”