Delight for Pat Martin as Oceania Queen wins ‘good pot’

The in foal Oceania Queen, trained by Pat Martin for his mother-in-law Nuala Brennan, captured the €22,500 European Breeders Fund Fillies Handicap, feature of last night’s action in Ballinrobe.

Produced with a perfectly-timed challenge by Tom ‘Socks’ Madden, the four-year-old, in foal to Frozen Power, swept past Break My Mind inside the final furlong to score by a length and three-quarters.

Her delighted trainer said: “She’s a filly in-foal and she’s thriving at the minute.

“To be honest, I never thought she’d stay that far, but the pace was slow, which helped her. And it was a good pot to win.”

The evening produced a double for in-form Aidan O’Brien, responsible for Sherlock Holmes and Best Kept Secret, a first Ballinrobe winner for his daughter Ana, in the nine-furlong 47-65 handicap.

An uneasy favourite in the Maiden, Sherlock Holmes was soon in front and, dictating the pace under Joseph O’Brien, gradually upped the tempo from the half-mile pole before staying on strongly to beat Pincode by two and three-quarter lengths.

“He stays well and has a good attitude,” stated Joseph, “he handled the track quite well for a horse having his second run. If the handicapper isn’t too hard on him, he might win a staying handicap, maybe in Galway.”

Earlier, Best Kept Secret triumphed, at the eighth attempt, despite the late surge of Buzz Off Barroso.

Apprentice Jack Kennedy continues to impress and registered his third flat success (he’s also ridden five over hurdles) when making all on Paddy Twomey’s top-weight Ruler Of France in the Kate Appleby Apprentice Handicap.

The teenager dictated the pace and his mount kept finding enough in the closing stages to hold Shes No Joke and Chatterton by a head and a neck.

“That was great — David Wachman recommended the horse to me and Jack gave him a great ride. So I’m happy,” was Twomey’s summing-up of the victory.

The evening started with a shock as 20/1 shot Wider World, ridden for Ken Condon by Fran Berry, came from off the pace to beat Lehbab and Park Rebel convincingly in the Irish Farmers Journal Median Auction Maiden.

“She misbehaved in Sligo the last day and was reluctant to come out of the stalls, but Ken told me to put a line through it,” Berry said.

“She was obviously in a better frame of mind tonight, jumped and travelled and, although they fell in a hole a bit up front, she picked up well.”

Berry was expected to complete a double in the finale, the Ballinrobe Claremorris Castlebar Maiden, on board odds-on favourite Cillian’s Return.

But Tony Martin’s charge had to settle for the runner-up berth behind well-backed Theos Well, who came from last to first under Connor King to triumph for Mick Winters.

Winters said: “We lost our dough in Tipperary, but he was much better today. He might run on the flat in Galway and, as he’s best going eight-handed, he’ll go to Mallow when he’s going back over hurdles — he doesn’t like those Easyfix hurdles.”

After 9/4 favourite Back Off Mate, ridden by apprentice Sean Corby, came from well off the pace to win the 47-70 Handicap, trainer Arthur Moore confirmed: “That’s an ideal stepping-stone to the Midlands National (in Kilbeggan next month) – it’s a race that should suit him well and today’s slotted in nicely.”

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