Nucky Johnson makes it three wins from five starts with Naas success

Favourite Mirazur West did the business in the finale to send punters home happy
Nucky Johnson makes it three wins from five starts with Naas success

SCARY MOMENT: Well Loved and Ritchie Deegan (yellow) and  Thecornerhouse and Evan Dwan (white) part company at the last flight in the Naas Handicap Hurdle. All were OK afterwards. Picture: Healy Racing 

The Noel Meade-trained Nucky Johnson made it three wins from five starts when landing the featured Treo Eile Rated Novice Hurdle in Naas, coming from off the pace under a patient Liam McKenna to master Doyen Ta Win on the run-in and triumph by five and a half lengths.

Winner of a bumper and awarded his maiden hurdle in the stewards' room, the Vadamos gelding was having his first outing after a winter break and delighted his trainer, who admitted: “I thought before the turn-in that we might be in trouble, but he won well. Liam was having his first ride for me, but judged it well.

“We gave this horse a break over the winter, because we didn’t think he’d handle real soft ground. He hasn’t done much wrong and has been consistent.

“If he’s okay, he probably go to Fairyhouse for the Grade Two novice hurdle and then on to Punchestown. In the longer term, I could see him winning a Flat maiden.” 

Successful with Junta Marvel in Limerick, the stable’s 200th winner of the season, Willie Mullins completed an across-the-card bumper double when 1-2 favourite Mirazur West scored a smooth success in the Nursery Of Champions Flat Race.

The Westerner gelding, formerly with Ellmarie Holden and a full-brother to Ferny Hollow, dictated from flagfall under Derek O’Connor and won impressively, prompting Closutton representative David Casey to say: “He’s a beautiful stamp of a horse and has been working very well. Derek was very happy with him — he said he did everything right, but was idle in front. He’s a nice prospect.” 

Winner of a listed bumper in Gowran Park last autumn, Sam Curling’s Troubled Times reappeared to make all under Philip Enright in the Irish Stallion Farms Mares Maiden Hurdle, seeing off Chautuaqua and Something Abouther.

“I was a bit worried about the ground, but it’s lovely out there,” said Curling. “She was entitled to do that on her bumper form and did it well. We’ll see what mark she gets and she’ll stay going for the summer.” 

On a day when he registered an across-the-card treble (Media Naranja and So Des Flos won in Limerick), Gordon Elliott won the opening maiden hurdle with By Your Side, delivered late by Michael O’Sullivan to give owner Kieron Gammell a first winner at his local track.

“He’s been knocking on the door, jumped better and Michael gave him a peach of a ride,” said Elliott. “He might win a little Flat race somewhere — he’ll probably mix it.” 

In the handicap action, the Henry de Bromhead-trained Miss Tempo, off the track since December 2021, made all for Mikey O’Connor to take the Thanks To All Our Sponsors Handicap Hurdle while Herculaneum, trained in County Derry by Noel Kelly, gave amateur Dara McGill his first success over hurdles in the 80-95 two-miler.

The three-mile 80-95 went, in emphatic style, to the Shane Nolan-trained mare Elsannah (Ian Power), who proved too strong for favourite Tangental.

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