On an afternoon that saw extremely testing underfoot conditions, the hooded Inchiquin High (5/2) always took the eye in running with Kiely’s brother Richie.
The always-prominent Misty Mai tried to make the decisive move by going for home from the third last of the 14 obstacles.
Inchiquin High however edged ever closer on the stiff ascent from the penultimate fence and she was poised to challenge coming to the last.
The winning daughter of Mountain High mastered the gallant Misty Mai on the flat to score by two and a half lengths, the pair returning five lengths clear of the third-placed Silver Serenade.
“She never ran on ground as heavy as that before,” reported Cappagh-based handler Kiely of his father Richard’s Inchiquin High.
“She seems to have improved from Killeagh and hopefully, there’s more improvement to come. There’s a mares’ winners of three at Borris next month and she will probably now go there.”
The Declan Queally-trained/ridden Thegirlfrommilan (6/4) atoned for falling at the final fence at Killeagh when appearing to be travelling marginally better than eventual winner Goodthynemilan by landing the six-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden in the colours of Eileen O’Mahony from Knockraha.
The six-year-old Thegirlfrommilan, the only winning favourite on the card, and recent Dungarvan runner-up Strangsmill settled down to battle it out from after two out with the victorious daughter of Milan getting on top inside the final 50 yards to oblige by one and a half lengths. Queally, who was sending out his third winner as a handler, will now run Thegirlfrommilan in either a winners race or a maiden hurdle.
Owner/trainer/breeder Terence O’Brien’s Glencarrig Lad (5/1) sluiced home in the closing six-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden to provide 21-year-old Darragh Allen from Kilworth with a third success in the plate.
The eight-year-old grey Glencarrig Lad, who caught the eye on his belated career debut despite pulling up at Ballyvodock two weeks earlier, made smooth progress from off the pace after two out to lead before the final fence en-route to putting six lengths between himself and odds-on favourite Pocket Talk.
Gerry Mangan made his only mount of the afternoon a winning one aboard Co Wexford-based handler Seamus Neville’s Legal Lord (8/1) in the opening five-year-old geldings’ maiden, the race that attracted the biggest field of the afternoon in 10 runners.
The Kayf Tara-sired Legal Lord, having pulled up on his initial outing at Borris House two months earlier, shadowed odds-on shot Dara’s Present from two out and he moved into pole position on the run to the final fence.
It was all plain sailing from there as the successful British-bred beat Dara’s Present by three lengths. Neville is now likely to run his wife Ina’s Legal Lord in a bumper.
Eugene O’Sullivan’s Drawn N Drank (2/1) went one better than he did on his return to action at Ballindenisk in late-November by just getting on top with Newmarket amateur Turlough O’Connor in a thrilling finish to the five-runner novice riders’ open lightweight.
Drawn N Drank, also victorious in this same contest last year, was engaged in a ding-done tussle with the patiently-ridden Truckin All Night from before the last. They crossed the line locked in combat with the camera showing however that Drawn N Drank had prevailed by a short head.
Larry Murphy, who trains just a half-mile from the Knockanard course, saddled his Fermoy-based first-cousin Patrick Walsh’s mare Back To Basics (7/1) to oblige in the adjacent hunts maiden. Runner-up Da Baba Elephant was still in front when blundering at the final fence with Back To Basics then powering ahead on the flat to dismiss Ciaran Fennessy’s mount by six lengths in the hands of Damian Murphy.
Back To Basics will now be aimed at the prestigious Gain Mares’ Final at Ballynoe in early-April.
1) Mrs S Neville’s
(GB) b g (Kayf Tara – Ladylliat) 12-1 Mr G M Mangan
2) Miss J Foley & Mrs C Cashman’s
12-1 Mr D Murphy
3) P G Coffey’s
12-1 M J P O’Rourke
10 ran. 3L, Hd, 6L. (Winner trained by Seamus Neville)
1) Ms E O’Mahony’s
b m (Milan – Legendsofthefall) 6-11-10 Mr D L Queally
2) T M Kent’s
7-11-10 Mr P D Collins
3) A Hickey’s
7-11-10 Mr M D Hickey
7 ran. 1 1/2L, 5L, 6L. (Winner trained by Declan Queally)
1) R Kiely’s
b m (Mountain High – Inchiquin Supreme) 7-12-1 Mr R J Kiely
2) Ms D M English’s
6-11-10 Mr R W Barron
3) Mrs B Queally’s
9-12-1 Mr D L Queally
8 ran. 2 1/2L, 5L, 1 1/2L. (Winner trained by Paul Stephen Kiely)
1) Ms I T Walsh’s
ch g (Snurge – Dolldyedee) 10-12-1 Mr T O’Connor
2) Conna Enclosure Syndicate’s
10-12-1 Mr R W Barron
3) Mrs N Lynam’s
10-12-1 Mr J Hurley
5 ran. Sh Hd, Dist. Only 3 Horses Finished. (Winner trained by Eugene M O’Sullivan)
1) P M Walsh’s
ch m (Zaha – Dorneys Double) 6-11-10 Mr D Murphy
2) C W Fennessy’s
7-12-1 Mr C W Fennessy
3) P M Walsh’s
8-11-5 Mr S D Fenton
8 ran. 6L, 9L. Only 3 Horses Finished. (Winner trained by Larry Bernard Murphy)
1) T O’Brien’s
gr g (Cloudings – Barryscourt Castle) 8-11-10 Mr D Allen
2) C Duggan’s
6-12-1 Mr D O’Connor
3) D O’Keeffe’s
8-12-1 Mr R O Harding
8 ran. 9L, 3L, 20L. (Winner trained by Terence O’Brien)