Rachael Blackmore recorded the first double of her career when riding Most Honourable and Oisin James to victory at Tramore yesterday.
Drying conditions resulted in numerous withdrawals, but it favoured Blackmore’s mounts, who combined to provide a 62-1 brace.
Most Honourable left behind a disappointing effort at Down Royal on Monday when taking the two-mile handicap hurdle. After tracking the pace for much of the race, he led going to the second-last and stayed on nicely to beat favourite Scenic Star.
Winning trainer Shark Hanlon said: “It goes to show they don’t all need to cost a €100,000 — he was only €600. He ran in Down Royal during the week, and they said the ground was good but if it had been he would have won. I think this win proves me right.
“He will probably go chasing now. He loves this place, so we’ll probably have him back for August 15.
“I just hope now that all the tracks don’t go watering this ground to make it soft — we’ve had a long enough winter. We all want safe ground, but this thing of overwatering is a disaster for those of us with summer horses.”
Blackmore completed her double when guiding the well-backed Oisin James to victory in the two-mile-five handicap hurdle for trainer Denise O’Shea.
Another to appreciate the conditions, he was driven to lead between the last two and, with a good jump at the last, saw off the challenge of Urtheoneiwant by half a length.
It was a third winner for O’Shea, who trains 11 horses in a yard which she rents from Liam Burke.
O’Shea said: “This horse has been waiting for a bit of better ground. He was a bit immature last year but, in fairness to Rachael, she gave him a great ride, and was probably the makings of him. She’s super value for her 7lb claim. He might run again next week in Tipperary.
“I rent a yard from Liam Burke, so it’s great to have him, Johnny, Amy and the lads close by — they’re a great help, and the facilities are fantastic. I’m very lucky.”
Eddie O’Grady welcomed a change of luck when Le Vagabond landed the odds in the opening hurdle at Tramore.
Available at 5-2 in the overnight market, he was backed into 9-10, which he justified with minimum fuss.
“He likes that ground, and I thought some of the others mightn’t, which was a help,” said O’Grady. “I thought he was entitled to win off his rating. His owners are from Galway and, while it’s a long way away, I’d imagine he’ll end up in some race at the festival there.
“We’ll find something for him in the meantime, and he’ll mix it between the flat and over jumps. Good ground makes all the difference to him.”
Penhill, a 100-rated horse on the flat for Luca Cumani, made a successful debut for Willie Mullins in the two-mile maiden hurdle. The 4-11 chance’s jumping lacked fluency early but, after his class carried him into a challenging position around the final bend, he met the final flight perfectly, and won hard held under Paul Townend.
The winning rider said: “He was a nice flat horse, and did it well. There is plenty to work on in his jumping, but as the race went on it got better.
“He was a stayer on the flat, so should have no problem going further, but he seems to have a bit of boot, as well.”
Unic De Bersy justified favouritism in the Members’ Club Chase, the Gordon Elliott-trained gelding doing so in the hands of Jack Kennedy.
“He’ll be kept on the go for the summer, and will then head to the Doncaster Sales,” confirmed Elliott.
The complexion of the two-mile-six handicap chase changed early when favourite Shadow Play took an early tumble.
Final Gift took the opportunity to secure a third chase victory in just 12 outings, for trainer John Costello and jockey Jonathan Moore. The prolific point-to-pointer led on landing after the second-last, and forged clear to beat Ballyfinboy.
Local success wrapped up the meeting, as Smitty Bacall, trained in Curraghmore by Shay Barry, ridden by Stradbally jockey David Kiely and owned by the Circle Of Six Syndicate, asserted late to beat the well-backed Burrows Lane.
“I’m delighted with that. It was touch and go whether we’d run him on this ground,” said Barry. “He’s a nice big horse, and will probably go hurdling now.”
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