Nearly Nama’d relished the heavy ground to land his second decent pot of the season at Fairyhouse in the Underwriting Exchange Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase yesterday.
Not seen since his course and distance victory six weeks ago, the Sandra Hughes-trained eight-year-old took command at the final fence in the hands of Barry Geraghty to land the €60,000 first prize for owner JP McManus, who ended the day with a treble.
Baily Green made the running with Draycott Place close up until the third-last, where the winner’s stablemate Guitar Pete made his bid for glory.
However, he was soon challenged by Nearly Nama’d (4-1), who travelled strongly going to the last.
Asserting on the run-in, Nearly Nama’d went on to score by four and a half lengths from Mozoltov, who stayed on to overtake Guitar Pete by a length for the second spot.
“That was great. The horse is improving. The trip was right, he’s a great jumper and he loves that ground,” said Hughes.
“He’s a lot stronger than last year and Barry said he noticed a big difference in him from the last time he rode him.
“He needs that soft ground. He wasn’t handling the ground in the summer so we let him off.”
McManus also struck with Marlbrook (7-2) in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Rated Novice Chase, with Mark Walsh steering Colm Murphy’s charge home by three and a half lengths from Balnagon Boy.
“It’s nice to get that out of the way. He’s been an unlucky horse and has fallen a few times,” said McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry.
“It was a bit of a slog, but he kept going grand. It’s nice to see him back in good form again. He ran quite well in the north and the conditions of this race suited.
“We’ll find a little handicap for him down the road.”
Sutton Place (4-9 favourite) gave McManus and trainer Gordon Elliott trebles when cruising clear by four and three-quarter lengths in the Next Racing At Fairyhouse January 20th (Pro/Am) Flat Race under 7lb claimer Jonathan Moore.
“It’s been a good day. He’s a nice big horse – a big raw horse. Whatever he does he’ll be a lovely horse with a summer’s grass,” said Elliott.
“We’ll probably not do too much more with him. We might put him away, mind him for next year and take our time.
“He’s had a run over hurdles and did that very well.”
McKinley (6-4 favourite) capitalised on the fourth-last fall of leader Alisier D’Irlande to comfortably open his account over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase.
Willie Mullins’ charge was left in front a long way out but was never in real danger and went on to go one better than on his chasing debut as he defeated Missyspet by four and a half lengths, completing a double for jockey Bryan Cooper.
“That was fortuitous. When he was left in front the loose horse kept him going. It’s nice to break his duck,” said Mullins. We’ll look for a winners’ chase for him. The Arkle is probably too soon and we might look for something easier than that. He might go up in trip also.”
Cooper, rerouted after Tramore was abandoned, got off the mark on Tocororo (13-8), the first of Elliott’s three winners, in the Buy Your Great Value Annual Fairyhouse Membership Today Maiden Hurdle.
“She’s a grand filly. I don’t know how good a race it was, but she seemed to like the soft ground,” said Elliott.
“We’ll try and find a winners’ race for her. I’d say she’ll stay further as she looked in trouble turning in, but ended up winning nicely.”
Myztique (11-8 favourite) helped Elliott and Geraghty to a double when drawing away by seven and a half lengths from Commeragh Trix in the Book Easter Festival Tickets Online At fairyhouse.ie Mares Maiden Hurdle.
“She’s a grand mare and honest. I’d say she’d be better on a bit better ground,” said Elliott.
“We might bring her over to England for a novice hurdle and if we could find a bit of black type that would be great.”
Shanaak (7-4 favourite) took the Underwriting Exchange Handicap Hurdle for trainer Tony Mullins and his jockey son Danny.
“On his Leopardstown run he’d have to do that. I thought this looked a weaker race on paper and he only endorsed what he did at Leopardstown,” said the trainer Mullins.
“He’s not a big horse but he still jumps fences well. He’ll go again in a couple of hurdles and there is a future for him over fences.”
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