Bryan Cooper rode his first ever winner for Willie Mullins when guiding Gigginstown House Stud’s Don Poli to victory in the INH Stallion Owners’ EBF Maiden Hurdle at Thurles yesterday.
It was a smashing performance by Cooper as well aboard the French recruit, taken from evens to 4-5.
He got a splendid run through on the inside off the home turn and quickly made the best of his way home.
Charles Byrnes’ Kerrieonvic, ridden by Davy Russell, soon ranged up as a major threat and, for a stride after the final flight, looked the likely winner.
But Don Poli battled back in fine style and was nicely on top at the line to score by half a length.
“He’s very laidback and every bit a chaser,” said Mullins. “I would be hoping he’ll win a novice hurdle, but does have chaser written all over him.”
Byrnes’ Synchronicity responded well to a powerful drive from Russell to land the thurles.ie Maiden Hurdle.
The winner made a lot of the running, finding enough to hold the persistent challenge of Macnicholson, the verdict half a length.
Punters began on the right note when Willie Austin’s Blazing Sonnet justified favouritism in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Beginners Chase.
She did well to deliver, after getting it wrong five from home. The daughter of Oscar rallied back for Andrew Leigh, however, led after three out and found enough to hold Kilcarry Bridge.
“She will now go to Leopardstown (Sunday week) for a mares’ handicap hurdle and will probably have a break then,” reported Austin.
Tim Doyle’s Milestone Miss, a seven-year-old, won her first ever race when taking the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Mares’ Beginners Chase.
Partnered by Martin Burke, she stayed on dourly to grab the front-running Killtilane Rose close home and score by a length and a half.
“That was her first time over fences and she jumped great,” said Doyle. “She was a bit frustrating over hurdles and will return here in a few weeks for a mares' novice chase.”
Off The Charts followed up his winat Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day by landing the Thurles Handicap Hurdle.
Given an excellent ride by Mark Walsh, Off The Charts swept through to grab the flattering Kylecrue and win by three parts of a length.
J P McManus owns Off The Charts and his colours were back in the winner’s enclosure with the Charlie Swan trained Getoutwhenyoucan in the Follow Us On Facebook Handicap Hurdle.
The Beneficial gelding, with Ger Fox in the plate, eased ahead going to the last to beat Westerners Son by a comfortable two lengths.
“Ger is a nice rider and a good addition with his 7lbs (claim),” said Swan. “He’s in again at Down Royal next Wednesday, so we will see.”
Bookmakers, badly in need of some respite, got it in the Bumper when 33-1 shot Victoria Hill, available at 66-1 in the morning, turned over Willie Mullins’ market leader Measureofmydreams.
Given an inspired drive by Jane Mangan, the Old Vic gelding kept finding all the way up the straight hold his rival by half a length.
The six-year-old is trained by Gerry O’Keeffe at Dungourney, Co Cork. “He won three schooling bumpers and I had one tenner on him at 40-1,” said a delighted O’Keeffe.
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