Pour Deux set out to make all the running, but the field closed up ominously from the home turn, and Military Angel took over travelling well at the two-furlong marker. However, Wayne Lordan had Off Limits tucked in behind the pace for much of the journey, and she quickened smartly to lead inside the final furlong before moving clear. As big as 10-1 in the morning, she justified sustained support to a starting price of 6-1.
“We liked her a lot in the spring, but I’d say she was just going off colour when I ran her in the 1000 Guineas Trial,” admitted Wachman. “It took her a long time to come back to herself, but she’s back now. She’s a nice filly, will go on any ground, and we should have a bit of fun with her.”
A lack of market confidence was no barrier to success for Foxtrot Charlie, who made a winning debut in the opening juvenile maiden. Favourite Brontide tried to make every yard of the running, but the winner, trained by Dermot Weld, was ridden to challenge a furlong and a half out, and quickened clear for a comfortable victory.
“I thought he might have been a bit green for around here, and he did show greenness when he got to the front. But I was pleased with the way he quickened up, and there should be plenty of improvement in him,” said winning rider Pat Smullen.
Trainer Pat Martin was counting his blessings that the rain came in time for Reckless Lad in the O’Keeffe’s Marquee Hire Rathmore Handicap. Off the strong pace in the early stages, he was caught behind a wall of horses a couple of furlongs from home, but Shane Foley drove him through to get up late for a neck victory over Hatton Cross.
Said Martin: “The ground probably wasn’t soft enough at Bellewstown – he’s getting more ground dependent as he’s getting older, and I was praying for rain for the last couple of days. He’s a smart horse when he gets things right, and got a hell of a ride.”
Bay Hill carried top weight to victory in the Dermot O’Leary Memorial Handicap, over a mile and three furlongs. Under a confident ride from Fran Berry, the Christy Roche-trained grey challenged travelling best a couple of furlongs from home, and was pushed clear to beat the fast-finishing Malicious Intent, who was last early, having missed the break.
A half-brother to former Grade 1 winning hurdler Lethal Weapon, the winner was solid in the market at 11-2, behind the heavily backed Brog Deas Nua (5-1 to 7-4), who had to settle for fourth.
In the John Buckley Auctioneers Mares’ Maiden Hurdle Kris Kindle justified strong morning support (6-1 to 7-2) under a fine ride from Paul Townend. No worse than fourth in three previous outings over hurdles and placed numerous times in bumpers, she deserved this change of luck.
Midfield for much of the journey, she moved up on the turn for home and had to be ridden out to beat Troubled Soul.
“She deserved that,” said trainer Edmond Kent. “I knew, coming here, she was in great form. That’s her ground – we were running her on heavy ground because we thought that’s what she needed. She’s probably better going the other way around, but Paul said he had plenty up his sleeve.”
Millstream Ned wasn’t without his supporters (10-1 to 6-1) in the Irish Examiner Handicap Hurdle, and duly delivered for trainer Pat Neville and owner Eamon Leahy. The imposing six-year-old was ridden prominently by Mark Enright, and responded generously to his jockey’s urgings to deny Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh aboard Joy Neville. “He’s a fine big horse, and has taken a bit of time to come to himself,” said Neville. “It’s nice to win a hurdle, but we think he’s a proper chaser in the making.”
There was real drama in the closing Killarney Racegoers Club Mares’ Bumper, which went to Palm Sur, trained by Shay Barry. Rosshaven Lady looked to be getting on top until veering to her left, through some railing, and bringing down long-time leader Little Mitch. Both jockeys, Sarah O’Brien and Pat King emerged unscathed.
That left Ballinderry Moth in front but she, too, tried to move sharply to her left.
Although she hampered Palm Sur in that move, the last-named got up in a driving finish to secure a narrow victory.