The talented Bryan Copper gave the hitherto enigmatic Giantofaman a superb drive to land the Munster Maiden Hurdle at Thurles yesterday.
Dessie Hughes’ charge had previously looked one to avoid like the plague, but blinkers, a change of tactics and sheer skill from the saddle didn’t half work the oracle.
Cooper had his charge bowling along in front from the start, he had previously been very much a hold up horse, and it was soon crystal clear who the boss was.
Going to the last, however, odds on Urano challenged under Ruby Walsh, appearing to have the contest in safe keeping.
But Giantofaman, for once, found plenty and was nicely in control at the line to score by a length and a quarter,
“It worked, blinkers and making the running”, exclaimed Hughes. “We’ll see how he is now, winning a maiden was the easy bit.”
Charles Byrnes’ Trifolium, also partnered by Cooper, gave an exhibition of jumping on his way to trouncing the opposition in the www.thurlesraces.ie Beginners Chase.
Taken straight into the lead as well by the pilot, the six-year-old made all to beat Cairdin by ten lengths.
“From the first day we schooled him, he was a fantastic jumper”, reported Byrnes. “He was done for his wind and has had one or two other problems as well.”
Paddy Kennedy rode his first winner since returning from injury, be broke an ankle and a foot, when driving Eugene O’Sullivan’s A Decent Excuse to victory in the Thurles Handicap Chase.
The front-running Baily Dusk travelled powerfully for most of the three miles, but his stride began to shorten between the final two fences and Kennedy seized his chance to power A Decent Excuse ahead.
Said O’Sullivan: “It’s not before time, he was due that. He will go for something similar, probably at Christmas.”
Willie Mullins’ Perfect Gentleman looked an unlucky loser of the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Novice Hurdle. He raced down to the last upsides eventual winner, Gallant Tipp, but stumbled badly at the back of the flight and that was that.
Perfect Gentleman rallied on the short run in and the fact closed to within three parts of a length of the Edward O’Grady-trained winner told its own story.
“He seemed to be more confident in his jumping than at Clonmel”, said O’Grady of Gallant Tipp.
Gary Ahern, who trains at Bartlemy, Co Cork has a decent sort on his hands, on the evidence of the success of the grey, Our Katie, in the Thurles Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.
Ridden by Paul Townend, the daughter of Dr Massini bounded clear up the straight in very taking fashion.
Commented Ahern: “She was working great at home, but I didn’t expect her to win that easy.”
Pat Fahy’s promising and well-backed Western Boy was far too good for his opponents in the Bumper.
Confidently handled by Katie Walsh, the winner eased into the lead early in the straight and only had to be pushed out to score snugly.
“I was going to send him over hurdles after Tipperary (finished second)”, said Fahy. “But when we schooled him he jumped the hurdles as if they were fences.
“Then I ran him in a schooling hurdle and he jumped much better, but decided why not go for a bumper.”
The modest Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle was won in the proverbial canter by Dream Crusher.
Ridden by Martin Brassil’s son, Conor, the five-year-old cruised home ten lengths clear of Bank Bonus to give Brassil his second winner.
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