TRAINERS Charlie Swan and Tony Martin took the training honours at Limerick yesterday, Swan doubling-up for champion owner J P McManus with Prince Of Fire and Rourke’s Cross while Martin combined with Ruby Walsh to register a handicap hurdle double with Redera and Somatic.
Having run well in the valuable Ladbrokes-sponsored handicap hurdle at Killarney last Sunday, Prince Of Fire opened his account over fences when getting the better of Lough Ferrib in the Ryan Sheridan Concert Beginners Chase, in which the Ronan O’Gara-owned Your Busy proved a disappointing favourite.
“He’s often a bit keen and has been disappointing,” stated a relieved Swan. “But David (Casey) gave him a great ride — he got him settled and produced him at the last. It’s great he’s won, at last but I’ll have to talk to Frank (Berry) and J P to decide whether we’ll keep him on the go or give him a summer break.”
Swan completed his double when Nina Carberry gave the once-raced Rourke’s Cross a confident ride before producing the Milan gelding to tackle and master favourite Law Rebel by a half-length.
The successful trainer explained: “He’s a nice horse that likes some cut in the ground so he’ll probably have a break now before he goes hurdling.”
The success of Rourke’s Cross denied Law Rebel’s trainer Jessica Harrington (at the Curragh where she saddled Irish 1,000 Guineas third Laughing Lashes and handicap winner Bob Le Beau) a double. The Robbie Power-ridden odds-on favourite Fuschia Belle had triumphed for Harrington in the opening Supermacs Dooradoyle Mares Maidfen Hurdle, surviving a last-flight mistake to beat Phoenix Rose by a head in the colours of Eamonn Phelan, who admitted: “She’s well-bred, a half-sister to Mr.Cracker so the family obviously likes it here. We brought her to the Sales, but couldn’t find a buyer for her.”
A first-time tongue-tie probably made a big difference for Somatic, a full-brother to classy stable-companion Psycho, which improved on recent form to land the Limerick GAA Handicap Hurdle, sparking the double for Tony Martin and former champion Ruby Walsh. Owned by the Going Nowhere Syndicate from Limavady, County Derry, Somatic was chasing Larkin and Viaduct Bud when the latter fell at the second last before taking command and stretching clear to triumph by six lengths.
The Martin/Walsh partnership followed-up with Redera in the Join The Tote Go Racing Club, the former Jim Gorman-trained five-year-old scoring readily from De Dodger and prompting his trainer to comment: “He’s not a bad little horse, but has had his share of problems. He jumped too big the last day and got a fright early in his race. I’m just delighted he’s won again for the Dubs that own him — he’s their first horse with me.”
Barry Geraghty partnered top-weight Conem to land the Supermacs Handicap Chase at the expense of favourite Francis Du Mesnil, the eleven-year-old’s first success since January 2009.
Conem is trained by Willie Austin, who said: “I’m delighted he was able to win again. I suppose the handicapper gave him a chance by dropping him a couple of pounds. I’ll try to find another race for him before he goes out to grass.”
Trainer Thomas James, still in Cardiff after his beloved Leinster’s Heineken Cup final, missed his first racecourse success when Three Way Bond got the better of Burnswood in the Limerick GAA Handicap Hurdle.
James, who is based in Camolin, County Wexford, was represented by his brother Bill who described the winner as “a real three mile chaser” and confirmed that the seven-year-old will campaign through the summer.
Another success for County Wexford came in the Twilight Evenings Handicap Chase when the Liz Doyle-trained Borolee, ridden by Paddy Mangan and wearing blinkers for the first time, edged home in a three-way photo from Ponmeword and Theresathingwrong.
* Robbie Colgan picked-up a two-day ban for using his whip with excessive frequency on third-placed Antipode in the handicap chase.
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