Smullen kicked-off on board 62-rated Sir Raston, for his boss Dermot Weld, in the two-mile Easter Eggstravaganza At Dundalk Stadium, the Sir Percy gelding getting the better of 2014 JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Tiger Roll by a half-length with gambled-on favourite Roconga a close and very unlucky third, finishing strongly, having been badly hampered.
“We took a chance running him over two miles, but the steady pace was ideal for him,” admitted Smullen. “I knew if they went slow, his turn of foot would give him a great chance. I kept filling him with confidence and he picked up nicely.”
After the champion-jockey made all on 2/1 favourite Carried in the Champions Restaurant Easter Special Handicap, holding the late challenge of Lusis Naturea by three-quarters of a length, winning trainer Dot Love declared: “Pat is an absolute master – everything was perfect. The visor helps him concentrate when he’s in front.
“This was a bit overdue – it’s his sixth run here this season and he’s been placed every time. We’ll keep going with him and we might go back over hurdles during the summer as he likes really firm ground.”
Smullen completed a good night when Our Manekineko, trained by James Nash, justified 2/1 favouritism in the finale, the one-mile 47-65 handicap, coming between horses at the furlong-pole to beat Tansanite by two and a quarter lengths..
“I suppose he was a bit unlucky the last night, but at least it showed he was coming back to form,” said Nash. “I was happy he had improved from that last run. I have no big plans for him, but he’ll probably come back here, because he doesn’t handle the grass.”
The five-runner Crowne Plaza Dundalk Race & Stay Package Median Auction Race produced a good tussle between the market leaders with victory going to 8/13 favourite A Shin Impala, by a head, over Tonkinese, the morning favourite, which drifted to 7/4 in the face of sustained support for the winner.
It was a case of third-time-lucky for A Shin Impala and Fozzy Stack explained: “That was grand. He’s a fine, big horse and Wayne (Lordan) says he’s still a bit weak. I’d say he needs to step-up to a mile and a quarter. We’ll see what sort of mark he gets before making plans for him.”
A Shin Impala’s win provided Wayne Lordan with compensation following his unlucky run and one-day careless riding ban on Roconga in the opener.
Billy Lee, who received a two-day careless riding ban in the opener, enjoyed better luck on board Ken Condon’s Strait Of Zanzibar in the one-mile www.dunalkstadium.com Rated Race as the tough eight-year-old held Aared by a nose.
“He’s a grand horse and came into the race fresh,” stated Lee.”