Maxine off the mark over fences in style

Jockeys making a presentation to Shay Barry to mark his retirement from race riding at Tramore  yesterday. Picture:  Healy Racing

Twenty-one-year-old Maxine O’Sullivan rode her first winner over fences with a highly competent display aboard Pals Leg, trained by her father, Eugene, in the Follow Us On Facebook Beginners Chase at Tramore yesterday.

Her only previous success on the track was in a bumper, but she does have 17 to her credit in point-to-points.

Said Ms O’Sullivan: “That was brilliant, he’s lovely. It was his first time over fences and he looked at the first three a bit, but after that was brilliant.”

Favourite, Sugar Bullet, made most of the running, but Pals Leg eased past coming away from the second last and kept going well for his pilot to easily hold Classic Event.

“It is a great pleasure to win with Maxine riding”, remarked a proud father. “He’s been an unlucky horse all his life. I’ve been running him on the wrong ground and he kept getting beaten by good horses.

“He won a point at Dungourney on bottomless ground for Derek O’Connor and Derek told me to never run him on that again, he wanted better ground. I took his advice, but it’s soft ground he wants.”

Davy Russell, lucky to survive serious injury when taking a crashing fall off Sir Des Champs at Punchestown on Sunday, showed no ill effects when guiding well-backed Sunday Serenade to victory in the Buy Tramore Race Tickets Online Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.

She was always travelling sweetly and had this in safe keeping, once asked to lead over the second last.

Trainer, Peter Fahey, said: “She did it well and I thought had come on from Cheltenham.

“She is starting to go the right way and will now head for a winners’ of one and then step up to Graded company. We fitted her with ear plugs and they helped.”

Willie Mullins’ Wicklow Gold, a promising fourth at Clonmel previously, toyed with the opposition on his way to taking the 2014 Tramore Members’ Great Gift For Christmas Maiden Hurdle.

He was very uneasy in the market, finding as high as 6-4, but jumped and powered through the race in style and was always going to win in the final half mile, the verdict 27 lengths.

Said Mullins: “He made good improvement from Clonmel, the trip is the key to him. He didn’t lose an inch jumping, although I think is a chaser.”

Edward O’Grady’s Flaming Dawn, from the family of Dawn Run, was far too good for his rivals in the Bumper, justifying 5-4 favouritism.

Partnered by Jane Mangan, Flaming Dawn was taken to the front with over a circuit to cover and powered clear in the closing stages to score by 13 lengths.

Said O’Grady: “I think he’s quite nice. I wasn’t going to run him in another bumper, but thought this was a good opportunity.

“He will now go for a maiden hurdle, probably in the New Year, but is a chaser in the making.”

Colin Bowe, absent at the sales at Cheltenham, missed seeing his Gold Patrol shrug off top weight with the minimum of fuss in the Friends’ Of Shay Barry Novice Handicap Hurdle.

The five-year-old was reappearing after finishing a creditable fourth behind Faugheen at Navan on Saturday and was officially 6lbs well in.

The handicapper got it spot-on, with Gold Patrol edging ahead shortly after two out to win by, yes, six lengths. Barry O’Neill, who did the driving, said: “He stays well, jumps quick and handled the ground.”

Ray Hackett’s Tidy Zag, a winner at Cork on Sunday, defied a mandatory 6lbs penalty in the Handicap Hurdle.

He got a powerful drive from Andrew McNamara, coming from off the pace to get up close home and beat Getoutwhenyoucan by half a length.

Commented Hackett: “He bounced out of Sunday so well, so fresh, we decided to give it a go. Thank God it has worked out.”

Miss Palm, ridden by Andrew Lynch, got a dream run up the inside in the straight to collar the flattering Dog Barrel Hill after the final fence in the Go Racing In The South East Handicap Chase.


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