Having ended last season with 50 domestic winners to his credit, Bryan Cooper has started the new campaign in good form and doubled-up on board Horendus Hulabaloo in Tipperary last night.
A 122-rated hurdler, the Mouse Morris-trained six-year-old Horendus Hulabaloo made a successful chasing debut in the Kedrah House Stud Well Chosen Beginners Chase, racing prominently throughout before seeing off Seamus Mor by here lengths.
Morris commented: “He probably needs further. But he goes on any ground and is one of a small team we’ll keep going for the summer.”
Cooper completed his double when Final Gift, trained in County Clare by John Costello, bounced back from a disappointing run at Leopardstown in February to win the Kilfeacle Stud Handicap Chase at the expense of favourite Winter Magic before surviving a Stewards Enquiry.
Described by his trainer as “a bit flat” at Leopardstown, after three point-to-point wins since Christmas, Final Gift was Costello’s first winner under rules since he won a hunter chase at Tramore in February 2013.
Costello confirmed: “This is his level and, as long as we get some rain, he might go for another handicap.”
Kevin Sexton, who is based with Gordon Elliott, made a perfect start to his new role as retained rider for owners Pat and Tilly Conway when getting the Jim Dreaper-trained Don Franco home a three-quarter length winner over the gambled-on Stoughan Cross in the Ryans Cleaning Even Specialists Handicap Hurdle. The Waterford man has just one winner left before losing his 3lb. claim. Thomas Dreaper, representing his trainer-father Jim, commented: “He’s a hard little horse, with not a lot of mileage on the clock. We were tempted by fences, but took a chance by going to Tramore to see if he’d handle summer tracks. This is Kevin’s first ride for us and a great start in his new position for the Conways.”
Patsio, third in the race last year for Philip Fenton, belatedly opened his account over hurdles when landing the opening Boomerang Animal Bedding Maiden Hurdle for Shay Barry and Brian O’Connell, proving too strong for All About Alfie.
Barry admitted: “He was third in this race last year and nobody thought it would take him a year to win. But he’s been consistent and likes nice ground, so we’ll keep him going through the summer.”
The Mick Winters-trained Knocknanuss was sent off an odds-on favourite for the concluding p2p.ie Point-to-Point Bumper, but having been keen in front under Finny Maguire, he succumbed to chief market rival Jack The Wire, ridden for Denis Hogan by John O’Meara, which justified strong support, from 7/2 to 9/4.
“He’s owned by my parents and I’ll be trying to convince them not to sell,” explained Hogan. “He’s a horse with a very big engine.”
Earlier, John Joe Walsh saddled Danali, winner of her ‘point’ at Tallanstown, to win the p2p.ieMares Point-to-Point Bumper, powering clear in the final furlong, under Ambrose McCurtin, to slam longtime leader Jodies Miss comprehensively by seven lengths.
“We bought her after she won her point-to-point and she’s a very nice mare,” said Walsh. “She’s a great stayer and wants better ground. So she’ll go out to grass and come back over hurdles.”
The Stewards held a “running and riding” enquiry into the performance of Hunters Of Acres (finished ninth) in the opening maiden hurdle.
Trainer John Burke was found guilty under Rule 212 and fined E1,500. The horse was suspended for 42 days and rider Frank Hayes banned for a total of sixteen days, fourteen for not making sufficient effort to obtain the best possible position and two for failing to report factors which could have affected the horse’s performance.
Noel Meade’s charge was found to have capsaicine in his system after landing the Grade Two heat. The substance derives from chilli peppers and is used in some crib-biting solutions as well as a liniment, by which it can reduce pain and inflammation by increasing circulation locally.
Meade pointed to a supplement he had used on Very Wood, with the manufacturers accepting it contained a small amount of red pepper, which they were unaware was a prohibited substance.
The suppliers stated red pepper will not be included in any of their formulae in the future.
Meade escaped any fine as he had administered the substance unknowingly and it was accepted he had taken all reasonable precautions to avoid a breach of the rules. He was, however, ordered to pay the cost of a ’B’ sample as well as the Turf Club’s costs, which amounted to 750 euros.
Noble Emperor was awarded first place in the Navan race.
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