Double Seven lands dramatic Midlands National

STRETCHED OUT: Westhaven and Davy Condon jump the last on their way to winning the Coola Maiden Hurdle at Kilbeggan. Picture: Healy Racing

Double Seven, trained for J P McManus by Martin Brassil, landed the €50,000 Gigginstown House Midlands National in dramatic circumstances at Kilbeggan last night.

Alan Crowe’s mount hit the front on the long run-in to beat Wise Oscar by two and a half lengths, with the McManus-owned favourite Tom Horn third.

The placings were unchanged after a Stewards Enquiry into a scrimmage on the run-in, caused when the runner-up collided with his rivals as they returned to the chase track after by-passing the final obstacle (due to the low-lying sun).

After partnering his seventh winner of the season Crowe commented: “Martiin (Brassil) told me he’d stay, to sit in the last three or four and take my time, and to have something to aim at from the second last. It’s a lovely pot to win, particularly at this time of year.”

Out of luck with Tom Horn, Noel Meade plans a mixed programme — of flat, hurdles and fences — for Westhaven following the five-year-old’s victory under Davy Condon in the Coola Maiden Hurdle.

Meade’s charge made most of the running to beat Golden Heron convincingly, giving Condon his nineteenth winner of the season and prompting Meade to comment: “He has been consistent and loves fast ground. He’s an ideal summer horse.”

Front running tactics also paid dividends in the opening Tom McCormack Memorial Cup Mares Maiden Hurdle as the Dessie Hughes-trained New River, in foal to Jeremy, made all under Mark Enright who explained: “She travelled and jumped well. It was a help that she was turning all the time — it kept her interested.

“She’s probably not up to Galway standard but will go for a winners somewhere,” said Hughes, who completed a double when, at the fourteenth attempt, Stonemaster finally opened his account over fences in the beginners chase.

Left in front with a circuit to race and vigorously driven by Davy Russell, the odds-on favourite, owned by big-race sponsor Michael O’Leary, was left in command when nearest pursuer Eirland crashed at the last and then held the late flourish of Im Cool Too by a nose. Russell said: “He has plenty of ability, but is a bit of devil.”

A nose was also the margin which separated the Dermot McLoughlin-trained grey Ocean Bright and Miss Penny Pincher, ridden by Barry Geraghty for his brother Norman, in the Ladies Day At Kilbeggan Handicap Hurdle. Conor Maxwell’s mount, left in front at the third last, was following-up a recent win at Bellewstown.

On his first ride since returning from a summer break in Australia, Patrick Mullins had an armchair ride on Dr. Schultz in the bumper, the Willie Mullins-trained 10/11 favourite coasting to an impressive win to recoup losses incurred on this track in May.


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