Derek O’Connor will be making a bold bid to regain his point-to-point title if yesterday’s well-attended Kilworth & Araglen Harriers fixture at Kilworth is anything to go by for he partnered a sparkling three-timer.
On an afternoon that saw the meeting’s proceeds go to injured riders’ JT McNamara and Jonjo Bright, O’Connor got the ball rolling aboard the Pat Doyle-trained newcomer Amber Gambler (2/1) in an eventful four-year-old geldings’ maiden.
Ambler Gambler was always positioned at the head of affairs and he appeared to have his main danger removed when the challenging A Bold Move fell at the second last. Our Dancing Dandy however made up three lengths on the eventual winner and he was disputing the lead with the victorious German-bred when coming to grief at the final fence. Amber Gambler was then left clear to dispose of Double Take by ten lengths.
“He was very green there, but he’s a great leaper and there should be plenty of improvement to come from him,” said handler Doyle of the Doyen-sired Amber Gambler.
The Galwegian’s second winner Vinalhaven (7/2) once again came courtesy of the aforementioned Doyle and Ambler Gambler’s owner Walter Connors in the five-year-old geldings’ maiden, a race that attracted the maximum 19 runners.
Vinalhaven and runner-up Casual Approach had the race to themselves from the penultimate of the 13 obstacles. It was John Costello’s first-timer Casual Approach that held a slender advantage at the final fence, but the previously once-raced Vinalhaven was much the stronger on the flat with the French-bred asserting inside the final 100 yards to oblige by three lengths with all of a 17-length break to the third-placed Cadawil.
The former champion signed off aboard the Robert Tyner-trained favourite Scoop It (7/4 – 6/4) in the five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden. Scoop it went to the head of affairs on the run between the final two fences and she pulled out plenty when required in the closing stages to fend off Noel Henley’s Bennys Girl by three lengths. A winners race is now on the agenda for Scoop It, sporting the silk of the All The Hens Syndicate.
The Adrian Maguire-trained Seventh Son (7/2), a former six-time track winner, readily put his rivals to the sword on his points debut in the open lightweight.
Seventh Son overtook Harpor at the seventh fence and it was plainly apparent that the victorious British-bred was well in control with Declan Queally from two out. Whilst Cork Citizen went second from the final fence, he was still five lengths adrift of the successful five-year-old at the line. Maguire intimated that Seventh Sign, winner of three races apiece for Tommy Carmody and Alan King, will be kept pointing for the immediate future.
Handler Aidan Fitzgerald struck with ex-track performer Nashville Swing (5/1 – 4/1), representing John Phelan and Liz Doran from Goresbridge, in the closing six-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden.
Nashville Swing, who showed promise on his three track outings most notably when fourth on his debut in a Ballinrobe bumper in May 2011, struck the front after the second last and he stuck admirably to his task for Richie Deegan in the closing stages to beat joint-favourite Flynsini by a half-length in what was the closest finish of the day.
The Andy Slattery-trained newcomer Kilas Girl (7/1) impressed in the opening four-year-old mares’ maiden.
Kilas Girl pumped on the coal in front from four out and she wasn’t found wanting in the closing stages as she valiantly maintained the tempo to account for Nashville Swing’s stable companion Our Seaside Lady by one and a half lengths under Damien Skehan. Kilas Girl, whose dam is a half-sister to prolific pointer Boxing Along, is shared by Slattery’s mother Margaret with Sean Hennessy from Urlingford.
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