Monkstown point-to-point winner The Moon Sea’s Me made a winning racecourse debut in the Kilmore Maiden Hurdle at Clonmel but it took all of Sam Ewing’s strength to get the Gordon Elliott-trained mare home in front over the two-mile distance, a trip clearly considerably short of what she needs.
Under pressure early and for much of the race, she responded remarkably well to collar favourite The Folkes Tiara in the dying strides.
“Maybe the trip was a little bit sharp for her, but she is honest, tough, and jumped brilliantly the whole way around,” said Ewing. “I had to keep filling her up, keeping up the momentum but she was very honest. Once we came down the hill onto the nicer ground, she picked up again.”
The Slievenamon Claiming Hurdle opened the show and Emir De Rots landed quite a gamble. Trained by Conor O’Dwyer and ridden by his son, Charlie, the eight-year-old was backed into 7-2 and made all the running for a comfortable success.
Richie Condon gave Where’s Bunny a confident ride in the Clonmel Mares’ Handicap Hurdle and was rewarded with a smooth success. Noel Dooly’s horse settled near the back of the field before easing forward to lead at the second-last. Bonne Debut tried to make a race of it but Where’s Bunny, who was a winner over fences at Wexford in June, was on top of his game and moved clear to win readily.
Corkbeg, bred and owned by Jim Reaney, Whitegate, got off the mark in the first division of the ClonmelRaces.ie Handicap Hurdle. Trained by Harry Kelly and ridden by Michael O’Sullivan, who is enjoying a fine spell since turning professional, the 7-1 shot squeezed through a gap between the hanging Hockworthy Flyer and the outside rail as they approached the final flight. Staying on strongly from that point, he comfortably repelled the effort of Londofficecallin.
“We gave him a couple of runs and he was a bit novicey, and this, that and the other,” said the winning trainer. “We thought he’d run a bit better in handicaps up to now, and I was disappointed with him the last day.
"We were wondering if we would stop or if we would keep going, and that’s why we were surprised about the money coming for him (in the market). We’re lucky with the way the race panned out and delighted to get it.”
Appian Way finally got his day in the sun by taking the second division of the ClonmelRaces.ie Handicap for Charles O’Brien and jockey Jack Foley. Without a win in 28 previous attempts, he came here in good form, and it showed as he dug deep from the back of the last to see off Kilgorey and Hard Target.
Tim Doyle earned reward for patience and persistence when Cher Why Not, ridden by Cian Quirke, caused a 25-1 upset in the Clonmel Handicap Hurdle. The 10-year-old has clearly had his issues and this was just his third outing since March 2019, but he showed he retained much of his ability and all his enthusiasm when coming from last to first to land the spoils.
Young rider Adam Ryan put a third win on his record when getting Lady Of The Vale home in the finale, the Clonmel Bumper. He gave Andy Slattery’s charge a patient ride, delivered her with every chance in the straight, and she dug deep to see off market rival Leitrim Park.