Moran Gra appreciates return to slower surface

Back from a winter sojourn in Dubai, Moran Gra and Banna Boirche fought out the finish to the Hibernia Steel Ltd. Race at Dundalk last night, victory going to Joanna Morgan’s charge under a strong ride by apprentice Ronan Whelan.

In a titanic battle, Moran Gra, which only arrived home from Dubai on Wednesday, got the better of his rival from Meydan by a head with Vivacious Vivienne a similar distance away third..

Joanna Morgan quipped: “He’s such a good traveller, I’d say he could fly the plane if they were stuck,” before adding “He got home from Dubai on Wednesday evening. So he’s done well to win. Ronan was strong on him and his claim made the difference. He’s a very relaxed horse, but only a handicapper. I knew he’d enjoy that surface — it’s not as quick as in Dubai.”

Megan Carberry, cousin of Paul and Nina, got off the mark recently here on board Shake The Bucket and followed-up on Niall ‘Boots’ Madden’s charge last night, getting the better of Shisha Threesixty by a neck in the Cargotec Ireland Apprentice Handicap.

Wayne Lordan notched his tenth win of the winter campaign at Dundalk when the beautifully-bred Mr.Greeley filly Precious Dream opened her account in the opening Red Mills Maiden.

The David Wachman trained daughter of 1996 Epsom Oaks heroine Lady Carla, friendless in the market, came through strongly to beat favourite Dimitar by two lengths, prompting Lordan to comment: “We were a bit worried that six furlongs would be too short for her. But she loved the surface and won well. It was important to win with her. She’ll be stepping-up in trip.”

Charlie Swan enjoyed another Dundalk success when 14/1 shot Rodriguez, ridden by Declan McDonogh, stayed on strongly to beat favourite Jacksonslady in the Xerox (Ireland) Ltd. Maiden.

The Leigh Roche ridden front-runner Charismas Birthday provided the Byrne family from Birr, County Offaly with a night to remember when landing the Harp Lager Social Club Handicap at the expense of Naoise and Cailin Coillteach.

The Choisir filly was bred by Michael Byrne, is owned by his wife Mary and provided their son Philip with a first training success.

Leading trainer at the track, Ger Lyons struck when Joe Eile, ridden by Niall McCullagh, regained the winning habit in the six-furlong Handicap, his first win since last July.

Champion jockey Johnny Murtagh missed last night’s action due to an infection following dental work earlier this week.

Murtagh lost out in the finale, the Leucillin On Facebook Handicap, when his arch-rival Pat Smullen deputised successfully on the Jessica Harrington-trained Mosstown, which held the late flourish of Horsofadifrentcolr by a neck.


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