Trained by the winning rider’s father, Tony, the grey was settled out the back for the first two circuits and then brought down the outside to make a challenge. Seeing out the two-mile-six trip well, he only had to be pushed out to assert late for a comfortable success, from the always prominent Your Busy.
“I didn’t give Danny any instructions,” said the winning trainer. “He decided to take his time on him and it worked out perfectly.
“With a penalty for that win, I’m hoping he may just get into the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle, over two miles and five furlongs, on the Saturday of the Galway Festival.
“He’s only a small horse, so carrying a low weight is a real plus for him and if he gets in near the bottom of the handicap, I’d expect him to run a big race.”
Western Boy returned to form to take the opening Ladbrokes Ireland Maiden under Fran Berry. The 7-2 chance travelled well in midfield and, though well-backed 9-4 favourite Alguazil kicked for home early in the straight, Berry looked confident as he brought his mount with a strong late run to reel in the leader, with three parts of a length to spare.
The winning rider later completed a double when guiding the gambled-on Modem to victory in the Malton Handicap. Representing the in-form stable of Jessica Harrington, he was backed from a high of 9-2 the night before to a starting price of 11-10 and, though made to battle by Zemario, always looked likely to get on top.
Said Kate Harrington: “He did it well. He had to battle, but it was his first run since March and he’ll come on a lot for it. The plan is the Galway Hurdle, where we’re hoping he’ll sneak into the weights, but he could go for the amateur handicap on Monday.”
After three consecutive runner-up finishes, On A Pedestal and rider Ana O’Brien enjoyed a change of luck in fillies’ handicap, over a mile and three. Sent off the 3-1 favourite, she was prominent with a circuit to go and, though her customary tail swishing was again on show as she came under pressure, she responded well to go clear from a furlong out to score a shade comfortably.
Wonder Holy made a successful handicap debut in the Corcoran’s Furniture & Carpets Handicap. Trained by Johnny Feane and ridden by Robbie Downey, the 12-1 chance had plenty of rivals to pass after turning for home. But he responded well to his rider’s urgings and, after hitting the front with a hundred yards to go, scored a shade cosily.
“The track was probably a bit tight for him, but he won well,” said Feane. “He ran a good race in defeat behind Frozen Lake at Fairyhouse, over seven furlongs, and really appreciated the longer trip this time.”
The well-backed Easy Boy didn’t enjoy the best of luck in running, but caught the eye finishing in fourth place.
The Killarney Avenue/Munster Joinery Maiden Hurdle went to Winter’s Over, trained by Jim Culloty and ridden by Brian O’Connell. Bred by Colman O’Flynn, who also bred former Gold Cup winner Denman, the six-year-old gelding travelled strongly to challenge from the third last, and stayed on well to account for Edith Somerville.
“We’ll keep it simple with him for a while,” said Kanturk trainer Mick Winters following Knocknanuss’s fluent success in the Meet The Roses At Killarney Races Flat Race. Heavily supported, into 4-6, the son of Beneficial settled well in front, under Nina Carberry, and the partnership looked in control throughout.
Nearest market rival Peregrine Run moved into a challenging position before the turn for home but Carberry was confident aboard the leader, and pushed him out to score impressively.
“He was very educated today, and very settled,” added Winters. “He pulled off a shoe mid-race, but Nina said he’d come on a lot for the race. He learned an awful lot from Tipperary – that experience really stood to him here.
“We thought the ground might be a bit quick for him – he went on heavy ground in his point to point, and you’re going to the other side of the scale, but it was great that he handled it.
“He might come back here for a ‘winners of one’. We’ll just keep it simple for now.”