After a promising handicap debut at Galway, Famous Milly stepped up to take the featured Irish Stallion Farms EBF Premier Nursery on day two of the Listowel festival, for Gavin Cromwell and jockey Rory Cleary.
Held up for much of the trip, she made progress turning in, and got up late to collar Youarewonder.
“I thought she was good enough to win a maiden, and we were taking a chance running her from five pounds out of the handicap, but if she didn’t win we always had the option of going back for a maiden,” said Cromwell.
“If she runs again this season, it will probably be the sales race at Naas, in October.”
Kodiac filly Grecian Divine has had a busy season, but connections’ patience and perseverance was rewarded with a first victory, at the eighth time of asking, when she made all the running to take the opening maiden under champion jockey Pat Smullen.
“I thought she was a filly that would have won a maiden a long time ago,” admitted winning trainer Denis Hogan. “She was less than a couple of lengths behind Roly Poly (subsequent Group 2 winner) on just her second start, but had an accident at home after that and it set her back. She’s a good filly, and had to be tough to get through that ground.
“Pat rode her exactly as he said he would. He controlled it, and only kicked in the last furlong. She’ll probably go for a nursery next – perhaps the Birdcatcher.”
The Mark Fahey-trained Jealika relishes testing ground, and the well-backed 5-1 chance once again showed her liking for such conditions at this course when completing back-to-back victories in the Feale Handicap. Held up out the back by Shane Foley, she ran into traffic problems in the straight, but persevered with her efforts, which ultimately earned a cosy success.
The 49-rated Nannys Well won the Listowel Track Fillies’ Maiden for Kilkenny trainer Pat Murphy. The four-year-old may have had a mountain to climb on ratings, but heavy ground is a great leveller, and she went through it best to secure a neck victory over favourite Hibiscus. The success, however, clearly wasn’t a huge surprise to all as she was backed from a morning high of 33-1 into 7-1.
Said Murphy, who has just three horses in training: “We figured she’d love the ground and it’s great to get the win because it has been a long road with her. At the start we thought she would win a maiden, but she had a few issues, and only came right this summer. She ran well on her last two outings, and we were giving her a chance on the ground.”
Race five was the start of the national hunt action, and She’s A Star justified favouritism with a patient ride by Sean Flanagan in the Listowel Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.
Noel Meade’s filly was at home in the testing ground and, after closing up rapidly on the turn for home, found plenty to see off market rival Wilms Warrior.
The winning rider reported: “It’s hard work out there, but she loves the ground — it’s absolutely essential to her. I thought they may have got away from her down the back, but she picked up well. She has schooled well but can jump a bit slicker. She was a bit careful today, that’s all, and will improve.”
Another Rattler, sporting cheekpieces for the first time, was delivered with a well-timed challenge by Brien Kane in the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Hurdle. The 8-1 chance led between the last two obstacles, and stayed on well to come home clear of Pashtunwali, with favourite Fiddlers Bow in third.
“Brien is a very good rider, and I gave him free rein to ride her as he liked,” said Rothwell. Asked where she might turn up next, he replied: “Anywhere there’s muck!”
This festival wouldn’t be the same without a winner for Mick Winters, and the Kanturk trainer hit the mark with the well-backed Jennys Day in the concluding maiden hurdle. The 11-2 chance travelled noticeably well under Brian Hayes, and picked up really strongly after the last to win readily.
“He was placed seventh and then second in point to points, before finishing second in a point-to-point bumper,” said Winters. “He was a bit sticky in his jumping, but came in much better this time. He’s only back in six or seven weeks, and we were hoping he’d run well so we’d come away thinking there was a future in him.”
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