Ridden just behind the pace, Wayne Lordan asked his mount for his effort inside the two-furlong marker, and he readily moved to the front, before pulling clear of the staying-on Bold Thady Quill, with last year’s winner, An Saighdiur, in third.
There was no luck in running for British challenger and favourite Aetna, who was forced to check when trying to make progress up the stands’ rails with a furlongs and a half to go.
Fozzy Stack, assistant to winning trainer Tommy Stack, explained: “He hadn’t run for a long time (prior to the Curragh) and it may have sharpened up his mind a bit.
“He didn’t travel, or do anything there, it just didn’t happen for him. This was more like it. He favours soft ground, and would have no problem dropping back to five furlongs as he has plenty of pace.”
Amid signs of greenness, there was plenty to like in the debut success of Athas An Bhean in the opening fillies’ maiden, over five furlongs.
The 9-2 chance, ridden by Fran Berry, moved to the front shortly after halfway, and steadily pulled clear in the closing stages to win by four lengths from favourite Jealous Beauty.
Winning trainer Adrian Keatley reported: “She’s what you want for this time of year – she’s small, she’s sharp, and she’s strong.
“We’ll probably aim her at the Listed Marygate Stakes at York, but could go for a winners of one at the Curragh beforehand.”
The Shane Duffy-trained Roryslittlesister caused a 25-1 upset when securing her maiden success under a strong ride from Niall McCullagh in the Cork Racecourse Handicap.
The action switched to point to pointers after race three and the Mares’ Maiden Hunter Chase went to the Paul Flynn-trained Windy Millie.
Eala Beag gave a great sight out in front, jumping for fun, but was unable to resist the strong late challenges of Windy Millie and Ballyknock Hill. The former, ridden by Kevin Power, sealed victory with a slick jump at the last, after which she galloped almost three clear.
Outsiders dominated the following Maiden Hunters’ Chase, with 20-1 chance Definite Surprise, trained by Iggy Madden, benefitting from a strong drive from Johnny King, whose saddle had slipped, to assert late for victory over 25-1 shots Doctor Braveheart and Island Master.
Former Cheltenham Festival winner Noble Prince came from off the pace to land the Jack Tyner Memorial Hunters Chase for owner-jockey Gerry Spain. In a share of last place for much of the trip, the Paul Nolan-trained 11-year-old was asked to take a more competitive position as they straightened up for home, before moving clear in the closing stages.
Said assistant trainer James Nolan: “He’d still be every bit as good a work horse as ever he was but I was a little concerned about today because he didn’t work as well as normal during the week.
“When the ground is drying out like that he tends to not let himself down, so that’s probably it for the season, and we’ll bring him back for open lightweights next season.”
Favourite Pause And Ponder was withdrawn from the Pegus Horse Feed Point-to-Point Bumper down at the start, and victory went to Justforjames, who gave rider Sheila Ahern her first winner.
The Sean Aherne-trained six-year-old swept to the front early in the homestraight and always looked comfortable in beating the well-supported Just Georgie.
The Cork & Waterford Mares’ Point-to-point Bumper wrapped up proceedings at the three-day meeting and Marygale Bridge (4-1) justified heavy support under a fine ride from Ambrose McCurtin.
The John Joe Walsh-trained mare moved to take over from long-time leader Um From Umbridge halfway up the straight and ran on stoutly to deny the challenge of Joint Reaction.