VETERAN trainer Bill Harney seemed rather perplexed after his Leanne had bolted away with the featured Wilderness Chase at Clonmel yesterday.
Set alight down hill to the straight by Robbie Colgan, the mare bounded clear to beat gambled-on Whatuthink, 100-30 to 9-4, by ten lengths.
“She was fit, but a stone wrong with the second”, said Harney. Future plans? “The plans now are in the hands of Noel O’Brien (handicapper)”, responded Harney. Whatuthink was unlucky not to have finished closer, having been hampered when Pesoto fell at the third last. He wasn’t travelling well enough at the time, however, to indicate that getting in a blow at Leanne was a possibility.
The Terence O’Brien-trained Cool Quest, a 25-1 shot, made an excellent start over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Mares Beginners Chase. Partnered by Kevin Coleman, Cool Quest jumped for fun and had taken the measure of Tramp Stamp when she fell at the final fence.
Said O’Brien: “I knew she was in great form, but there were others who were more highly rated over hurdles and I would have been happy with fourth or fifth. We will mix and match with her now, hurdles and fences.”
Colin Bowe’s horses are in terrific shape and he was on the mark again when Our Victoria landed the Cahir Mares Maiden Hurdle. Partnered by Barry O’Neill, she found plenty for pressure to out-battle Galianna from the last.
“She will probably go for a novice hurdle now”, said Bowe. “I thought the trip was short, but she’s tough.
Ordinary Man and Escudero were the ones punters wanted in the Cashel Maiden Hurdle, but neither displayed a whole lot of enthusiasm and were beaten by 9-1 shot, Peqeno Diablo.
Escudero was in trouble a long way out and just plugged on at the same pace to fill third spot. Ordinary Man did flatter for much of the journey, but had nothing left when the winner fought back on the run in, after looking well beaten. Peqeno Diablo was strongly handled by Benny Walsh, enjoying his fourth success on the track.
“At long last, we’re off the cold list”, remarked Philip Fenton, after his Le Reveur had won the Powerstown Desmene Handicap Hurdle.
He got the best of a sustained tussle with Pride Of The Lions, the verdict a short head. “He’s en eight-year-old now and a long time a maiden over hurdles”, said Fenton.
Another to come off the cold list was Eric McNamara, following the victory of his 16-1 shot Whiskey Hall in the Fethard Handicap Hurdle.
Davy Condon drove him ahead over two out to beat Van Lone by seven lengths. McNamara missed the contest, absent at the sales in Newmarket.
Bookmakers rounded off a splendid afternoon, with the Bumper falling to 25-1 chance Henrietta’s Way. Ridden by Debbie O’Neill, Henrietta’s Way made all of the running to easily beat For Dylan.
For Ms O’Neill it was a second winner, the first coming in 2002. “After I rode that winner, I broke my back in a schooling bumper at Thurles about two weeks later”, related O'Neill.
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