Ridden, as she was when successful last Sunday in Cork, by Mark Walsh, she popped out in front once more, and jumped with her customary fluency. Lost Book loomed large off the home turn and may have put her nose in front momentarily, but even-money favourite Perfect Woman got away very quickly from the final flight, and pulled almost two lengths clear.
“It was a slog all the way but when a horse gets to her she keeps galloping,” said Kanturk handler Mick Winters. “She’s a mare that’s probably better carrying weight than meeting faster horses.
“We’ve the rub of the green at the moment. Sunday’s race fell in to her lap, and she came out of it well. She was a basic enough ride today. She jumped great, got her own way in front, and is tough. She has heart, and probably makes up for lacking a bit of class.
“I have her entered for a chase next Thursday but probably won’t run. She’ll get a small bit of a break but, as Mark Walsh said, she loves her competitive racing.”
Ever the pragmatist, of his current purple patch Winters added: “We’re having a great run now but the training part is holding on to the owner when they’re running average.”
After runner-up finishes in two of his three previous outings over fences, He Is Top Class earned a deserved breakthrough in the opening beginners’ chase and, in doing so, gave jockey Paul Townend the perfect return from his ten-day suspension incurred at Tramore.
The horse’s keen travelling and slick jumping carried him to the front six out and thereafter he remained right on the pace.
Four runners were still in contention racing down to the last but the winner produced a very fast leap and that sealed the deal, as he ran on strongly to beat outsider Some Drama quite comfortably.
Said Brian Hassett, representing trainer Donie Hassett: “He deserved that – he probably should have won a few more by this stage. We’ll probably look for a handicap for him in two or three weeks’ time.”
Following an early-summer slump in form, the Gavin Cromwell-trained Magical Mother worked her way back to top form in recent outings, and earned due reward with victory in the Thurles Handicap Chase, over an extended three miles.
In contention from an early stage, she led early in the straight, and ran on strongly to record a second career success over fences.
Said winning rider Brien Kane: “I wanted to get her into a good position early but she was slowly away. She’s not the quickest mare but once I got her to the front she popped away, jumped well, and got the job done.”
The market made the Templemore Mares’ Maiden Hurdle a match between Blazing West and Hello Sweetie and that’s how it transpired, with the former earning an overdue success, under Eamonn Corbett.
Hello Sweetie set out to make all and was still travelling nicely as the eventual winner came under pressure before they turned for home. However, the Willie Austin-trained Blazing West responded generously, and forged clear late to get the upper-hand.
“She had a hard race this day last week. She was good enough on the day, but it was time she won her maiden,” said Austin.
There was an upset in the Thurles.ie Maiden Hurdle as South Circle landed the spoils for trainer Liam Lennon and jockey Rachael Blackmore. Never far off the pace, she travelled strongly to lead into the straight, and was unchallenged thereafter as long odds-on favourite Thats Nice was pulled up when making late progress.
Copyprint carried top weight to victory in the Holycross Handicap Hurdle. A maiden on starting, he had a number of placed effort over timber in the past few months and this breakthrough was much merited. Hannah’s Lane gamely tried to make all but the John Joe Walsh-trained Copy Print challenged from two out and, under a strong ride from Adrian Heskin, got up late to win a shade cosily.
“Adrian gave him a cracking ride. He won’t go on soft ground, so we might find something before the ground changes,” said Walsh. “It’s a first winner owner Christie Buckley (Ballinhassig), and hopefully the first of many.”
Ball D’Arc, ridden by Nina Carberry, came in for plenty of late support in the concluding bumper, and it proved well-founded as the Network gelding, having his first run for Gordon Elliott, travelled strongly, and quickened away up the straight to win by a wide margin from promising newcomer Timmone.