ODDS-ON Alpine Eagle proved a costly failure in the Kerrymaid Hurdle at the first stage of the Listowel Festival yesterday, trailing in a well beaten third behind Red Key.
Alpine Eagle tried to make all of the running, but had nothing to offer once passed heading to the home turn by a smooth moving False Economy.
But that horse in turn found little when asked and had no answer to Red Key, who surged ahead on the flat to score by a length and a quarter.
Winning trainer, John O’Shea, reported: “That’s a nice surprise. We fitted her with ear-plugs for the first time and they seem to have worked, she can get very wound up at the races.
“I just hope the handicapper doesn’t take a literal interpretation of the contest. That ground is as slow as she’d want and I don’t know if there is another race for her.”
Jessica Harrington, who trains Alpine Eagle, but enjoying a tremendous year, headed for the sales at Keeneland yesterday morning and missed seeing her 12-1 shot Tango Knight land the Charleville Cheese Maiden Hurdle.
He powered into the contest in the straight and, despite being a trifle awkward at the last, readily picked off King Rocco to score going away by three lengths.
Noel Meade’s well-backed favourite, Fully Funded, never promised and was in trouble going to three out.
Harrington completed a double when Magical Memoir ran away with the Dawn Omega Milk three-year-old Hurdle
Magical Memoir, of course, was the horse who was controversially disqualified after scoring at Galway and, rather astonishingly, then wasn’t reinstated on appeal.
At Galway, she beat Days Ahead by a length and a half and that rival was again second here.
This time, however, the margin of success was a whopping five and a half lengths and that, essentially, tells it’s own story.
Barry Geraghty eased Magical Memoir to the fornt coming away from three out and she soon bounded away.
John Queally’s Elyaadi landed some decent wagers, with a real swagger, in the Low Low EBF Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.
Backed at 4-1 in the morning and from 5-2 to 15-8 on track, the daughter of Singspiel hardly broke sweat, under a particularly confident Niall Madden drive.
She raced out the back for most of the journey, but was produced by Madden with impeccable timing to ease to the front at the final flight.
“That ground is as soft as she would want, but if it stays on the good side she will come back here on Saturday for the Slan Abhaile Race”, said Queally.
Essex, who has struggled for a long time to find a some from, delivered in the Cheestrings Beginners Chase.
Superbly handled by Andrew Lynch, Essex edged ahead coming away from the fourth last and when the challenging Warne got in tight to two out the deal was closed.
It was a first success for Essex since he won over hurdles at Tipperary in July of 2007.
Commented trainer, Denis Cullen: “The blinkers and fences have rejuvenated the horse a little bit. Andrew gave him a great drive, he was very positive.”
Davy Russell, following a fall earlier in the day, stood himself down and missed the winning ride aboard Noel Glynn’s Gonebeyondrecall in the featured Dawn Milk Handicap Chase.
Gonebeyondrecall - Glynn found a more than capable deputy in Robert Power - was nicely in control in the closing stages, but had his task considerably eased when Whats Up Gorden and his rider went their separate ways at the penultimate obstacle.
Said Glynn: “I had been hoping he would get into the National on Wednesday. I’m not sure what will be next, but we will keep going with him.”
Robbie McNamara, 22 yesterday, celebrated in style when guiding the Tom Cooper-trained The Shepherd King to victory in the Bumper.
One firm put 6-1 to him in the morning, were duly accommodated, and The Shepherd King was one of the best backed horses of the day, returned the 2-1 favourite.
He travelled beautifully through and lengthened in style to beat the persistent Cebuano by a length.
Said Cooper: “I think this is a real good horse. He might head for another bumper, but I’d rather go hurdling.”
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