Ground conditions were understandably quite testing and the Declan Queally-trained Thegirlfrommilan won the featured contest in the hands of Ciaran Fennessy, who was recording his initial victory in the ‘Gain’, having ridden in the event just twice previously.
Some eight runners faced the starter in a race that came with a generous €2, 000 bonus to the winner and the Nenagh winner Misty Mai ensured that the contest was run at a cracking pace and she led until overtaken by Sparkling River after the third last.
Goodthynemilan went to the front before two out except that favourite Thegirlfrommilan (2/1 – 7/4), having had to be ridden along with four fences remaining, was in full flow by now.
The winning daughter of Milan led away from this penultimate obstacle and she asserted on the flat to beat Denis Ahern’s Goodthynemilan by three lengths in the colours of Eileen O’Mahony from Knockraha, who also owned James Sheehan’s 2010 ‘Gain’ winner Tell Me Rose.
“It’s brilliant to win, but it’s hard to watch them when you are on the ground,” said Queally, who of course would have ridden Thegirlfrommilan in the normal course of events but for incurring a four-day ban at Downpatrick two weeks earlier. “She’s a tough mare that we might now run in a mares’ maiden hurdle at Limerick in three weeks time and she will be getting a break after that.”
Fennessy meanwhile was the only rider to depart with two winners for he earlier struck aboard owner/trainer Tom Barry’s Dancingatlughnasa (5/1) in the six-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden.
The recent Inch third Dancingatlughnasa, a towering chesnut by Black Sam Bellamy, gave a superb display of fencing at the head of affairs and he stormed clear in the closing stages to beat the always prominent Chasing Casey by three lengths.
Conna native John Barry kept his supporters happy by landing the five-year-old geldings’ maiden aboard Nick Stokes’ Carter McKay (2/1).
The British-bred grey Carter McKay, an excellent second on his only previous start at Boulta in mid-December, always travelled with purpose and he eased through on the inner to pick up the running after three out.
It was all plain sailing from there as the triumphant son of Martaline, owned by Christine McKnight, powered clear to slam newcomer Hidden Impact by ten lengths. Carter McKay is now likely to be offered for sale.
The locals had yet further cause for celebration as Ballynoe handler Batt O’Connell’s Truckin All Night (5/4) supplemented his recent facile Ballyarthur success in the seven-runner open.
The Johnny Hurley-ridden Truckin All Night, a former three-time track winner, made sooth progress to dispute the running two out and he was just beginning to get the better of the argument when runner-up Glenwood Knight was none too clever at the final fence, three lengths being the winning margin. A hunters chase could now feature on the agenda for Truckin All Night.
Colin Bowe is experiencing a fantastic time of late with his team of youngsters and the Kiltealy-based operator struck in his absence with newcomer Templenaboe (6/1) in the four-year-old maiden.
The Milan-sired Templenaboe, one of the picks of the paddock beforehand, moved through with Jimmy O’Rourke to pick up the running at the second last and he stayed on stoutly in the closing stages to contain the eyecatching Born For War by three lengths.
The probability is that Templenaboe, a graduate of last year’s Goffs Land Rover sale, will now be sold.
The closest finish of the day came in the closing six-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden with M’s Princess (4/1), having been placed on all three previous forays, attaining her due reward in the hands of her Ballinhassig-based handler Adrian Hickey’s brother Martin.
M’s Princess touched down with a slender advantage over the second last and she gamely maintained the momentum in the closing stages to beat long-time leader Leila’s Island by three parts of a length in what was the closest finish of the afternoon.