The Crafty Butcher, who was proving very costly to follow, finally got his act together for Ruby Walsh when taking the Holy Thursday Maiden Hurdle at Clonmel yesterday.
Walsh was in no hurry, but this was over as a contest once he asked his charge to lead over the second last. The Crafty Butcher quickly surged clear to beat Jewel Star by nine and a half lengths.
“He’s been a bit frustrating’’, said trainer, Michael Hourigan, with more than a hint of understatement. “We will keep going with him for a while, although I don’t know about running the horse on rock hard ground.’’
The well-fancied Vergalda was pulled up injured in this race and removed to veterinary hospital in Fethard. Efforts to save her, though, were in vain and she had to be put down.
Bill Harney’s The Conker Club cropped up at 18-1 in the moderate Easter Holiday Maiden Hurdle, but was far from unfancied, after some 50-1 had been taken in the morning.
Partnered by Mikey Butler, the daughter of Beneficial slipped ahead early on the final circuit and made the rest to beat Coolnagorna Giggs.
Rachel Harney represented her father and said: “She was not really healthy until six weeks ago and will now be kept on the go, but not on firm ground.’’
Another who didn’t win unknown to connections was Paul Cashman’s Castle Genie in the Slievenamon Beginners Chase.
She was returned at 5-1, but 12-1, and other tasty offers, were well taken through the morning.
Philip Enright was in the plate and he got a dream run up the inside going to the final fence to head Gerdalia and Back In A Tic. But Castle Genie ploughed into the last, somehow found a leg and then kept battling to score by three parts of a length and a short head.
Cashman, enjoying his first success since Idarah scored at Naas in February of last year, reported: “That is probably her trip, she’s a summer mare, who will mix it between fences and hurdles.’’
The Rodger Sweeney-trained Fiery Oscar went up 7lbs for winning here last month, but made light of the extra when hardly breaking sweat to take the Clonmel Races Easter Egg Hunt Handicap Hurdle.
Sweeney missed the race, went to Dundalk instead, but, with his son Colman in the plate, Fiery Oscar was in safe hands.
He cruised into the lead approaching two out and had taken the measure of Pretty Happy when that one took a fatal fall at the flight.
Said Colman: “I thought he’d win, but didn’t think would do so as easily as that. He will stick to tracks like this.’’
Patrick Mullins has struck up a fine partnership with Immediate Response, since the horse was sent to be trained by his father, Willie.
The ten-year-old took his score to five in seven races for Patrick, justifying cramped odds in the Suir Valley Chase.
Immediate Response eased ahead off the home turn, but had to be hard driven all the way to the line to hold Rubert by three parts of a length.
Commented Mullins senior: “He seems to be improving, jumped well, but idled in front. I’ll have no problem pushing him out in trip, to two miles and six or three miles.’’
Tom Foley’s Playing proved a snug winner of the Holy Thursday Handicap Chase, after Shane Butler let him stride on early in the straight.
“He seems to like Clonmel, there aren’t enough races here for him’’, said Foley. “This is a horse who has had a lot of problems and is better than he’s showing.’’
Silverpockets, trained by Robert Murphy and ridden by Johnny King, made all to win the Bumper.
A major danger was removed two furlongs down, however, when the Tom Cooper- trained newcomer, Kathy Jer, broke a knee when challenging and seemingly travelling best. The daughter of Oscar was subsequently put down.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved