Connor King reached another notable milestone in his career when he rode out his claim on board the Rodger Sweeney-trained Daliyan in the Join Us On September 20th Handicap in Gowran Park last evening.
Daliyan swooped late to get the better of Could Should Would by a half-length with the flattering Koybig just a head away third.
King, a native of Kilbrin, County Cork and Ireland’s champion apprentice in 2013, was registering his 21st success of the current season and the 95th of his career.
And he admitted: “That’s a relief. It means I’ll be able to do lighter weights and that should give me a few more options.”
Another hugely talented apprentice — Jack Kennedy — lost his 7lb. claim when partnering the Ken Budds-trained Here For The Craic to an overdue and convincing win over Queen Alphabet in the finale, a mile and six furlong maiden.
Here For The Craic, winner of a maiden hurdle, had filled the runner-up berth in four of his five previous outings on the flat. Budds stated: “He certainly deserved that and seems to be improving. The mile and six was no bother to him. You’d even say he should get further. He’s ground dependent and could go to Listowel, for a handicap, or I might find a little hurdle for him. He won’t go anywhere when the rain comes.”
Runner-up on his debut in Roscommon, Reddot Roman fulfilled that promise when landing the seven-furlong two-year-old maiden at the expense of Sevenleft.
The Holy Roman Emperor colt tracked the leaders, took the lead before the furlong-pole and, despite idling, held on by a half-length.
His trainer commented: “He learned plenty from Roscommon and, like most of ours, came forward from his first run. I was worried about the high draw, which is an awful disadvantage But Shane said he jumped smart and was able to take up a nice position. When he gave him a squeeze, he picked up well and probably got to the front a bit too soon. He had a good look around when he got there.
“He’s owned by a man in Singapore (Tay Hu Chor) who has some nice two-year-olds with us. This colt should improve another bit from today – he’s still a bit green.”
Sent to the front by Kevin Manning at the two-furlong pole and soon in command, 5/4 favourite Vitalized bolted-up in the opening Gowran Park Claiming Race, beating Love Letter by three and three-quarter lengths and prompting her trainer Jim Bolger to quip: “Little fish are sweet – and we’ll await developments.” Bolger was referring to the prospect of claims being lodged for his winner. As it transpired, there were four claims for the daughter of Authorised, with Willie Mullins proving successful when lots were drawn. The unplaced Wider World was also claimed, by Ciara Carthy.
Tony Mullins saddled Lass Vega (Ronan Whelan) to land the Gowran Park Gold Club Nursery by a head from Johnny Murtagh’s Set To Fire and admitted: “She was well entitled to do that on her Smash Williams run at the Curragh.”
And he added: “She’s progressed nicely from run to run and should be competitive in handicaps next year. He owner thinks we should leave it for the season and he wants to take her home. She certainly won’t run with cut in the ground.”
Tom Mullins was also on the mark as Double Fast, in his own colours, captured the first division of the apprentice handicap in the hands of Conor McGovern.
The successful owner-trainer explained: “She probably ran into one (Aye Aye Skipper) the last day. We have had a few issues with her, but she’s coming around to our way of thinking. She has done really well in the last week. I’d say she’ll head to Listowel now.”
The second division of this event went to 16/1 shot Rigid Rock, trained by Ado McGuinness and another winner for Ross Coakley. He collared Apache Gold well inside the final furlong to triumph by a half-length.
Johnny Feane, at the Doncaster Sales, missed seeing Granny May (Gary Halpin) making a successful debut in the seven-furling fillies maiden, getting up late to foil Bairns At Bay, her rider suggesting: “She’s a grand filly and will improve on easier ground,”
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