PRINCETON PLAINS, who failed to win a maiden over flights or on the flat, broke his duck in style with a last-gasp success in the valuable ladbrokes.com Handicap Hurdle at Killarney yesterday.
Given a magnificent drive by Niall Madden, the J P McManus-owned five-year-old powered through on the flat to grab Idarah on the line and score by a head.
“It was a while coming, but worth it in the end”, said Princeton Plains’ delighted trainer, Eddie Harty.
“I hope he will be as good as the last winner I had down here (Captain Cee Bee). There are no immediate plans and I don’t even know if he will race through the summer.”
Pozyc went off the 3-1 favourite and flattered for much of the trip. He looked one-paced from two out, however, only managing sixth spot.
Charles Byrnes and owner, Paddy Wilmott, sent the layers spinning one more time with the gambled-on Scottish Boogie in the Killarney Towers Hotel Maiden Hurdle.
Taken at 5-1 in the morning and returned at 7-4, the winner travelled smoothly throughout for Davy Russell.
He was none too clever over the final two flights, however, but then quickened up in style on the flat and was nicely on top close home.
“We will keep going with him and he will mix it between the flat and hurdles for the summer”, reported Byrnes.
Tony Martin’s Sensational Sema got into the Kelly Brothers’ Farm Modernisation Limited Handicap Hurdle as first reserve and proceeded to justify 6-1 to 9-2.
He needed the full Ruby Walsh treatment, however, finding plenty on the run-in to wear down front-running Mubrook.
Sensational Sema had been handicapped over shorter trips and the stewards inquired into the apparent improvement in form. The explanation offered was accepted.
Commented Martin: “He is a horse who is improving all of the time and we will now see where to go from here.”
The seven-year-old is owned by the Pats Bar Syndicate, whose five members come from Bellaghy, Co Derry.
Martin completed a double when Psycho, partnered by Andrew McNamara, outclassed the opposition in the www.themalton.com Chase.
He cruised into the lead between the last two fences to beat Aran Concerto by an easy seven lengths.
“If ever a horse deserved to win a race it is him, he has been unlucky at times”, said Martin.
Apt Approach was the business through the morning and on track — he went off the 11-10 favourite — but was struggling to land a blow when unseating Ruby Walsh three out.
McNamara completed a double when Benalma shrugged off top weight in the Flesk Valley Rowing Club Handicap Chase.
“We thought he wanted heavy ground”, said trainer, Pauline Gavin. “Andrew thinks that’s as fast as he’d want it.
“He will have a break now, but will be ready to run, if there is any worthwhile rain.”
Dessie Hughes’ Ross Na Righ, carrying the colours of Doneraile owner, Declan O’Keeffe, was a strong order in the Ross Golf Club Maiden Hurdle.
Backed from 2-1 to 6-5, he duly delivered, under a really fine drive from the impressive Bryan Cooper.
Zagman tried to make all, but Cooper pounced at the last and Ross Na Righ eased away on the flat to score by a length and a half. Said Hughes: “We thought the horse was ungenuine, but isn’t, he just needs to be held up. He likes good ground and will now go for a winners’ of one.”
The Jim Ryan Racecourse Services Bumper saw newcomer, Owega Star, wear down A Country Girl , with the latter holding a healthy advantage early in the straight.
Owega Star was ridden by 19-year-old John O’Neill. This was his first winner and he comes from Monasterevin, Co Kildare.
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