Fifty-one year-old Kieren Fallon rode his first winner since his return to Ireland when guiding Oiche Mhaith Boy to victory in the Coral.ie handicap at a packed students’ day at Limerick.
The 3-1 chance, trained by Kieran Purcell, was sent to the front from the outset and when the field tightened up on the turn for home the wily Fallon had plenty left up his sleeve.
The six-time British champion jockey, whose last victory in this country came aboard Recital in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown in 2011, drove his mount clear inside the final furlong to beat Pat Harkin by more than four lengths.
“This is a good track, one of the best in the county, and there is good racing here,” said Fallon, who hails from Co Clare.
“The horse is tough, likes the ground, and has won around here before. When I asked him to quicken, he did, which surprised me a little as it’s very soft out there.”
Of his association with Michael O’Callaghan, he added: “It’s great – he’s a trainer going places.”
Thanks for all the messages, delighted.— Kieren Fallon (@KFallonJockey) April 7, 2016
The easiest winner of the day came in the opening race, in which 7-4 favourite Dragon Khan made all to earn his first victory on the flat, doing so with 18 lengths to spare over the gambled-on Daredevil Day.
The victory was a fifth for Kanturk rider Killian Leonard.
Favourite backers were again in the money following the fillies’ maiden in which Orangey Red initiated a double on the card for trainer Dermot Weld, jockey Pat Smullen, and owners Moyglare Stud.
Smullen sent the even-money chance to the front from the outset and she held her position into the straight, where she responded to pressure to pull almost 10 lengths clear of Evening Hush.
“It was a good opportunity for her, and I just wanted to keep it simple in the conditions as I knew I was on a fit filly,” said Smullen.
“It’s very testing out there, and that’s why you get exaggerated winning distances.”
Connections completed the double when Smullen gave odds-on favourite Malinka a patient ride in the finale. Regal Beauty led for much of the way, but looked in trouble when the challengers came on both sides shortly after turning for home.
But it was the favourite, Malinka, who found most, and the lightly raced four-year-old galloped three clear of market rival Blue Skimmer.
Said Smullen: “She has a good pedigree, so it was a great to get a win with her. And she’s very genuine, which is a good job because I don’t remember ever finishing a race as slowly.
“She’ll definitely improve from this.”
The Ken Condon-trained Niven asserted late to take the seven-furlong handicap under Shane Foley.
Well-backed favourite Charlies Missile set out in front, and quickened clear in the straight.
The 9-2 chance held a four-length advantage a furlong out, but Niven made rapid inroads to take the lead half a furlong out, before stretching clear to win by three and a half lengths.
“Shane wanted to be forward on him, but they went very quick for the conditions and so he sensibly took his time instead,” said Condon. “He’ll give his owners plenty of fun, but won’t run on fast ground.”
BallTalk TV - The Masters 2016
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