Having only her second outing over fences, the Robert Tyner-trained Byerley Babe outclassed her rivals in the Student Race Festival Mares Beginners Chase on the final day of Limerick’s Christmas meeting.
Sent off the 9/10 favourite, the six-year-old Beneficial mare, a course winner over hurdles, travelled sweetly and jumped soundly for Philip Enright before challenging off the home turn. She quickened well in the very testing ground and, soon in front, only had to pop the final two fences to score readily, by three and a quarter lengths, from Hill Rock.
“She’s a nice, classy mare and jumps great,” stated the winning trainer’s wife Mary. “She likes that ground and goes well around here. We always thought she’d take well to fences and, with luck, will win more races. I’d say she’ll be kept to mares’ races.”
Earlier, Chicago, formerly trained by Aidan O’Brien and now with Pat Shanahan, made all to record an emphatic eleven lengths win over Blow The Doors Off in the Follow LRC On Facebook Maiden Hurdle.
Ridden by Paddy Mangan, Chicago had his nearest pursuer Easter Hunt in trouble turning into the straight and kept going well, prompting Shanahan to explain: “He was rated 105 on the flat and I think the change of tactics helped him — he seemed to enjoy himself in front and jumped well. He ran well first time, but we were very disappointed in Gowran, when he seemed to stick his head in the air. We’ll look for a suitable novice for him And I’m sure he’ll be going back on the flat later on.”
Charles Byrnes completed an across-the-card double when, after Sea Light recorded his second win at Leopardstown in four days, newcomer Lord Adare captured Limerick’s bumper under Barry O’Neill, beating Golan Dancer by a length and a quarter after a good tussle.
O’Neill commented: “He’s a smashing horse, with a very good engine. Hell improve from today and he’ll be even better on nicer ground.”
The riding honours went to Mikey Fogarty, who doubled-up on course bumper winner Romantic Fashion in the Online Booking Mares Maiden Hurdle and Paul Nolan’s Jupitor in the Family Fun Beginners Chase.
After Romantic Fashion got the better of Shaunas Dream, trainer Prunella Dobbs stated: “Mikey couldn’t have ridden her any better. He gave her a breather at the right time and saved a bit. She’s a very game and consistent mare, but is very lazy and has to be pushed along throughout her races. She appreciates that testing ground and will stay further.”
Fogarty was praised by James Nolan, brother of trainer Paul, after Jupitor’s victory over Coole Avenue in the beginners chase. “All credit to Mikey. He wanted to make use of the horse’s jumping and I told him to do it his way. This horse stays, jumps and likes soft ground and might go for the novice handicap in Navan that Panther’s Claw won.”
Owner John Glews, who sponsors Donald McCain’s yard in England, was present to see Fedirici, ridden by Adrian Heskin, land the Limerickraces.ie Handicap Hurdle, his first winner trained by Enda Bolger, who quipped: “Today was the plan and I’m shell-shocked it came off — things like this never happen to nice people like us!”
The fall at the second last flight of strong-travelling Zekarya proved crucial in the Happy New Year From Limerick Racecourse Handicap Hurdle, won by the Val O’Brien-trained 25/1 shot Carrow Queen, owned and bred by Padraig Nolan.
The mare, which will go for another three-mile handicap, provided jockey Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden with a timely boost, having picked-up a total of nine days in suspensions over Christmas.
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