“We’ll leave Kerry happy now,” said in-form trainer Willie McCreery, following the victory of Fact Or Folklore in the featured Guinness Premier Handicap on day four of the Listowel Festival.
After his mount had missed the kick, jockey Billy Lee was left with no option but to try to come around virtually the entire field aboard the 7-2 favourite.
But, the lightly raced filly, coming here off the back of a runaway success at Roscommon, really appreciates testing conditions, and picked up in great style to reel-in Shamar inside the final half-furlong.
“Everything worked out wrong, and she still won,” added McCreery.
“She didn’t jump, didn’t travel, and three down I’m thinking ‘where are we going here?’
“But she really picked up in the straight, and it’s nice to win a big pot like that. She’s stepping up again — her sister’s Laviniad, who improved as the year went on, and came on again at four, so if we can do something similar it’d be great.
“We might try and get some black type, but we’ll see what the handicapper does first. I don’t want to crease her with weight – she’s only a three-year-old.”
Time For Art got on top late in the opening Listowel Printing Works Maiden. Fran Berry got the 13-2 chance covered up early, and sat just behind the pace for much of the trip. Switched wide to challenge a furlong and a half out, he asserted in the final furlong to score for trainer Pat Fahy.
After the loss of Lots Of Memories and Owega Star earlier in the week, there was a well-deserved upswing in fortune for the Fahey family as Jealika, trained by Mark, nephew of trainers Paul and Peter, ran out a convincing winner of the six-furlong handicap.
Ridden by Conor Hoban, the 8-1 chance sat in midfield early and was forced to go around the wide outside to mount her challenge. In front a furlong out, she raced clear to score a shade cosily.
Said Tom Fahey, father of the winning trainer: “The ground is sticky and slow, and that’s exactly what we wanted. She’s not the quickest but stays all day, and that’s now her second win.”
Third Dimension gained a long overdue second career victory with a smooth success in the valuable Bank of Ireland Handicap. Hurricane Twister was quick to take control of the race and tried to kick off the final bend.
He went clear into the straight, but Colin Keane, aboard the Ger Lyons-trained winner, went in chase soon afterwards, hit the front at the furlong marker, and stretched clear to beat the staying-on Bubbly Bellini.
Assistant trainer Shane Lyons said: “He’s a horse we always thought a lot of, since he was two years of age. He’s a great work-horse at home but, for whatever reason, it’s just hasn’t come right for him on the track.
“The two millimetres of rain last night meant the ground was heavy but loose, which suited, and we half-fancied him today. He always had a big run in him and hopefully we’ll get another one out of him before the Horses In Training Sale at Newmarket. He could be a good dual-purpose horse for next year.”
Sr Carthage had little trouble following up her midweek success when running away with the LM Carey & Company Handicap under Kevin Manning.
Positively ridden once more, she quickened off the front to win readily.
“She loved it in front and won more easily today than on Wednesday,” said travelling head lad Ger Flynn. “The step up in trip really suited, and the ground is the key to her.”
Willie Mullins’ Devils Bride justified favouritism in the Southampton Goodwill Chase.
Confidently ridden by Bryan Cooper, the eight-year-old travelled well, moved to the front in the straight, and had enough in hand fend off the late challenge of Texas Jack by a length.
“I kept him wide for some better ground, and don’t think he would have won otherwise,” said Cooper.
“He jumped super, and can go further.”
A positive ride worked the oracle for the Dermot Weld-trained Grecian Tiger (4-5), who justified heavy support with an all-the-way victory in the John J Galvin Maiden Hurdle.
Winning rider Ruby Walsh said: “Tommy Treacy suggested I make plenty of use of him, to use his stride, Mr Weld agreed, and it worked out perfectly.”
The day’s action wrapped up with scenes reminiscent of Cheltenham on Gold Cup day, after Winter Breeze took the John Francis Handicap Hurdle under Barry Geraghty. The horse returned to a rapturous reception, ladies queued to kiss popular winning trainer Mick Winters, and those who backed him from 11-2 in to 2-1 likely weren’t far behind.
“He’s a big horse, only a six-year-old, and entitled to improve,” said Winters, after disentangling himself from the assembled well-wishers.
“He’s bred to stay — his dam is a half-sister to Earthmover — and should really appreciate jumping a fence, but we’ll keep him to three-mile hurdles for now.”
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