Ballycasey set for class raise

Ballycasey swept the opposition aside with a slick display of jumping from the front to take the feature Race That Stops A County ’Thyestes Jan 22nd 2015 Chase at Gowran Park on Saturday.

Representing the all-conquering Willie Mullins team just minutes after the victory of Faugheen in the same colours at Ascot, the seven-year-old was completing a Gowran treble for the Closutton yard.

Paul Townend set off in the lead on the 4-6 favourite, a Grade One winner in novice company last season, and the grey jumped much better than market rival Moscow Mannon all the way round.

He eased clear going to the final fence and after a splendid leap, ran on strongly to see off Followmeuptocarlow by five and a half lengths, with Moscow Mannon plugging on for a disappointing third.

Mullins had already won with Tell Us More and Douvan, and he went on to a four-timer with Don Poli.

The trainer said of Ballycasey: “That’s a trip (two and a half miles) he enjoys and he jumped great.

“We’ll probably look for a Grade Two or Three around that trip rather than go for a Grade One at this stage.

“It may appear that was easy, but he had a hard enough race on that ground (heavy).”

Meanwhilke Gowran runner-up Followmeuptocarlow could make a swift return to action in the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse next Sunday.

The Thomas Foley-trained 11-year-old was no match for Ballycasey in a two-and-a-half-mile chase on Saturday, but connections were deeply satisfied to finish second behind such a promising horse.

Followmeuptocarlow is now poised to step into Grade One company in a week’s time.

County Carlow-based Foley said: “He enjoyed himself at Gowran and it was no disgrace finishing second behind Ballycasey.

“We are definitely thinking that way (running him in the Drinmore) as there’ll be no better horse than Ballycasey in there.

“If he was five or six I wouldn’t consider it, but he’s 11 and has taken his Gowran run very well.

“He deserves to have one chance in a race like the Drinmore and he jumps well at Fairyhouse.

“The biggest problem we might have is getting the right jockey as we’ll be dependant on other horses not running.”


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