Roscommon report: Alice Avril gives Darragh O’Keeffe ‘some thrill’

It was some thrill going around on her,” declared O’Keeffe. “When she sees a fence, she just pricks her ears and takes off
Roscommon report: Alice Avril gives Darragh O’Keeffe ‘some thrill’

Darragh O’Keeffe onboard Alice Avril: 'When she sees a fence, she just pricks her ears and takes off'. Picture: Healy Racing

The Henry de Bromhead-trained Alice Avril, a four-year-old filly, having her second outing since arriving from France, justified 5-6 favouritism in the Boyle Beginners Chase in Roscommon.

Darragh O’Keeffe, so effective from the front, let the Balko filly roll along in front, jumping slickly at most fences, and, when chased by Santana Plessis in the closing stages, she found plenty to score by four and a quarter lengths.

“It was some thrill going around on her,” declared O’Keeffe. “When she sees a fence, she just pricks her ears and takes off. She was very good. Her jumping is her biggest asset.

“I’d say she improved from her run in Limerick and dropping back to two miles helped her. She was very good and loved the ground.”

In the other novice chase on the card, the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase, Brian Hayes partnered Michael Hourigan’s Icee M B A to a convincing victory over That’s Lifebuoy and favourite The Sliding Rock.

Hayes said: “She idled in front, but had a bit up her sleeve and took off again when the second mare came to her.”

Hourigan explained: “I bought two fillies at the sales, on the same day, for peanuts. I decided to give them to my grandchildren — that’s their initials. And I’d love to be at home to hear them roaring at the television.”

Jockeys Jack Kennedy (suspected rib injuries) and Denis O’Regan (left arm) were removed to Tullamore Hospital for observation and x-ray following the opening juvenile hurdle of the season, the Roscommon 3-Y-0 Maiden Hurdle.

Kennedy’s mount, Alice Kitty, was one of six first-flight casualties while Helvic Princess and O’Regan slipped-up on the bend after the fourth last flight in a race which saw only seven of the 16 runners complete the course, with victory going to Denis Hogan’s Whyzzat, a 15-race maiden on the Flat.

Trainer Ross O’Sullivan stated: “He’s been very consistent, knocking on the door and deserved his go,” after 7lb claimer Shane O’Callaghan produced 11-8 favourite Favori Logique with a well-timed challenge to beat front-running 250-1 shot Vale Of Glory in the Dysart Maiden Hurdle.

“He had form in winter maiden hurdles and the lads, from Wicklow and Kildare, bought into him two runs back. We’ll have fun with him — he’s rated 94 over fences, so we have plenty of options,” added the winning trainer.

Newcomer Rotten Row, a Leading Light gelding, landed the four-year-old bumper for Joseph O’Brien and Tom Hamilton, overcoming his inexperience in the closing stages to see off favourite Dreamz bya length and a half.

Owner-trainer Aengus King saddled Fill The Tank (11-1), pulled up in his last two starts, to win the Elphin handicap Hurdle over almost three miles, and explained: “They over-watered the ground in Tipperary the last day. For the size of him, you’d think he’d want heavy, but he performs well on summer ground.”

Glenquin Castle, trained for JP McManus by Martin Brassil and ridden by Mark Walsh, captured the Castlerea Handicap Chase, foiling veteran and last year’s winner Warreedy and Derek O’Connor.

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