Out of action since fracturing an ankle in Japan back in November, Fran Berry made a successful return in Dundalk last night, scoring on his only two rides, Fairy Wing and Regal Tramp.
Fairy Wing, recording his second win around Dundalk, needed all of Berry’s strength to get the better of front-running Rocky’s Pride by a neck in the Irish News Against The Breeze Rated Race, prompting trainer Jessica Harrington to comment: “It’s great to give Fran a winner on his comeback ride. This horse is a bit of a monkey and was having a good look around. He’s in a handicap at Leopardstown on Wednesday and will probably go there.”
Berry got the opening at just the right time on board the Vincent Ward-trained mare Regal Tramp in the Irish News Club Call Handicap, the four-year-old Street Cry filly ultimately proving a length and a half too good for favourite Word For Word.
Niall McCullagh, on the Reggie Roberts-trained Timeless Call, outwitted his rivals to land the five-furlong Irish News Red Hand Top Tips Race.
The 14/1 outsider-of-five bounced out of the stalls quickly and McCullagh decided to let the Sakhee filly dictate the pace before gradually upping the tempo and running on strongly to beat Katla by a length and three-quarters.
Trainer Roberts admitted, “We fancied her tonight — and she was 25/1 for a while this morning. She needs fast ground and will probably go for a six-furlong listed race in a few weeks.”
Handicap debutante Queenscliff, trained by David Wachman, landed a tidy gamble when getting off the mark in the Irish News Boot Room Handicap, driven clear by Wayne Lordan to trounce Samollie by two and three-quarter lengths. The Danehill Dancer filly, backed from 7/1 in the morning, was sent off 5/2 favourite.
Victory on Queenscliff clinched the jockeys’ title for Dundalk’s winter programme for Lordan, with thirteen winners, while Eddie Lynam made certain of the trainer’s crown when the Billy Lee-ridden Solid Air landed the Irish News Neville Ring Punters Guide Rated Race at the expense of Silverlord, the trainer’s fourteenth winner of the campaign at the County Louth track.
Lee completed a double when 14/1 shot Keep It Cool, having his first run since joining Ken Condon, made all to land the finale, the Irish News Hitting The Target Handicap, holding the persistent challenge of Discovery Bay.
Up 10lb. for an emphatic win over a longer trip here last month, the Jim Bolger-trained East Of Tara proved a runaway winner of the Irish News The Last Line, scampering clear under Kevin Manning to slam Kalacan by almost five lengths.
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