The four-day August festival at Tramore drew to a close yesterday afternoon with a series of doubles, highlighted by the second victory at the meeting for Collen Beag, who was an impressive winner here on Friday night.
The David O’Brien-trained mare contested the Richard Power Private Client Betting Handicap Hurdle, for which she was sent off an easy-to-back 4-1 chance.
Caridadi and Do Na Paisti made rapid progress to lead with three to jump and they looked to have it between them at that point. However, the in-form Collen Beag, who made a mistake at the third-last, responded to Jonathan Burke’s urgings to lead at the last, and pulled out plenty to see off Do Na Paisti by half a length. It was the lightly raced mares’ third victory of her career, all of which have come at this track.
“She’s wicked game,” said O’Brien. “Jonathan said she missed the third-last, so he sat, and knew she’d come up the hill. I might look for something at Listowel for her.” “Half a century I’m at it,” said owner Tony Slattery, “and you could count on your hand the number of winners I’ve had, so this week has been a good week at the office.” There was an upset in the opening Tramore Amusement Park Maiden Hurdle, in which the Liz Doyle-trained Cillian’s Well ran out a convincing winner. The 10-1 chance raced in mid-division early before moving up into second place at the fifth. Left in front when Zagelle went wrong before the second-last, he pulled a long way clear of dead-heaters Free Scorpion and Sam King.
“The penny has been very slow to drop,” said Doyle. “But he improved with each run, is going forward now, and, hopefully, will keep going forward for a few more runs. I don’t know how good he could be, but he jumped amazingly, and fences will be no problem to him.” Trainer John Morrison has his string in fine form, and his Shouband justified strong support when taking the Philip Carroll Memorial Maiden Hurdle in the hands of Paddy Mangan.
Mangan settled the 5-4 favourite off the pace early, but allowed him move onto the tails of the leaders with a circuit to go.
He took over from market rival Midsommarkransen before the second-last, and stayed on strongly to fend off the late advances of Victoryrowe.
Mangan said: “The horse was very disappointing last time, but he was good today and I thought I was always holding on. It’s great to get a win for Mr Morrison — he’s been very good to me.”
Master Appeal, owned by a syndicate of retired prison officers from West Cork, gave trainer John Kiely his second winner of the meeting, when taking the Frank Gillane Memorial Handicap Hurdle under Andrew Lynch. The race turned into a ding-dong battle between the winner and Fairy Court and it was only in the dying strides the 6-1 chance forged ahead, to win by a neck.
“I’d say he likes the track,” said Kiely. “Last time he won here we thought he was lucky, but he worked for it today. He ran a few disappointing races, for some unknown reason, but it’s great when he wins.”
The Walsh and Mullins racing dynasties dominated the final three races of the day.
In the two-mile-six-furlong Comeragh Veterinary, Kilmacthomas, Chase, the Willie Mullins-trained, Ruby Walsh-ridden Upazo arrived with a perfectly timed run to win a shade cosily.
Bishops Road set out to make all, but Usuel Smurfer was never far off the speed and moved to challenge two out.
However, Upazo, who had never previously won over further than two and a quarter miles, was delivered to challenge at the second-last, and stayed on well to beat Usuel Smurfer by a length and a half.
Mullins said: “The conditions of this chase suited him well, and he jumped well considering he got a bad fall at Limerick last time. I was hoping, if he was over that fall, he’d have a reasonable chance here, and it worked out.”
Walsh completed a double when taking the Heinz Pollmeier Memorial Handicap Chase aboard Old Castletown, trained by his father, Ted.
Off the pace early, he was asked to moved up to trail only favourite Illtakeitfromhere with a circuit to go, and then challenged going best from the second-last.
From there, he was in complete control, and Walsh didn’t have to be unduly hard on the horse to assert superiority of three and a half lengths over Indian Temple.
The final race of the meeting went to Pearl Diamond, ridden by Patrick Mullins for his father, Willie.
The 4-5 favourite was ridden patiently until asked to make her move going into the dip for the second time.
The mare, coming wide into the straight, raced clear to secure her maiden victory, at the third time of asking.
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