For the second time in two weeks, the stewards hit hard in a running and riding enquiry into the performance of Definite Earl, runner-up to Admiral Brian in the Killeen Sports Grounds Rated Novice Hurdle at Ballinrobe yesterday.
The eight-year-old came through late, staying on in good style to follow home the 13/8 favourite, beaten two and a half lengths, with longtime leader Ice Cool third.
In the subsequent enquiry, jockey Robbie Colgan and trainer David Broad were found to be in breach of Rule 212 (similar to the Noble Emperor case in Limerick which will be appealed on Monday).
They suspended Colgan for 21 race-days and ordered him to forfeit his riding fee, fined Broad €2,000 and suspended Definite Earl from racing for 60 days.
The race went to the father and son combination of Eamonn and Eoin O’Connell with 13/8 favourite Admiral Brian obliging.
“He’s an improving horse and everything worked out well,” the trainer said. “He’ll be a grand horse over fences. And we’ll probably start him off in Tipperary on May 12.”
On a happier note,Broad and Colgan combined to win the Costello & McDermott Maiden Hurdle with Bringerofthedawn, who stretched clear in the closing stages to slam Duke Cass by 22 lengths.
Broad said: “He’s a real chaser and that’s what he’ll do for the summer.”
The John Ryan-trained Mic Milano, who gave amateur Tom Brett his first racecourse success, at Limerick back in November, provided the young Tipperary rider with his second when pipping Duty Dance, by a nose, in the Hollymount Nursing Home Handicap Hurdle.
The pair were left clear when Babanango, challenging and travelling strongly, crashed at the final flight.
Ryan completed a double when Kylecrue (Donagh Meyler) defied top-weight when making most of the running to land the P & D Lydon Handicap Chase, holding the challenge of Fergiethelgend by three-quarters of a length.
The winner is now likely to be aimed at the Puncestown Festival.
Mark Walsh, who will be on board Heathfield in today’s Coral Scottish Grand National, gave 11/10 favourite Vent De La Cote a patient ride to land the featured Monroe’s Live Rated Novice Chase for owner JP McManus and Curragh thainer Martin Brassil.
Produced to challenge on the run-in, he mastered the front-running Archie Meade by a length.
Brassil said: “It was a good opportunity for him, a valuable pot. He has taken time to learn his trade over fences, but he’s getting there. He’s a soft ground horse, so we’ll have a look at the weather before deciding whether he’ll run again before his summer break.”
The best performance of the night came in the bumper, when Presenting Percy, trained like Cheltenham winner Mall Dini for Philip Reynolds by Pat Kelly, sprinted clear up the straight under Katie Walsh to beat Carrig Cathal by six lengths.
“He’s a nice horse,” said Kelly. “He needs more education before we put him away, so he might go for a winners bumper in Punchestown.”
Meanwhile, in Dundalk, Johnny Murtagh introduced a potentially smart juvenile, Ready To Roc, a son of Roderic O’Connor; to turn over odds-on favourite King Electric in the Irish Stallion Farms 2-Y-0 Auction Maiden.
Confidently handled by Connor King, the 20/1 shot picked-up well inside the final furling to get the better of the favourite by a half-length.
Murtagh said: “We’ve always liked him. And he’s been very professional at home from day one. We’re hoping he might be a Royal Ascot colt.”
Willie McCreery used the Light Up Your Nights Median Auction Race as a stepping-stone to the Group 3 Athasi Stakes at the Curragh for 98-rated Dolce Strega.
And the plan worked out perfectly as Billy Lee partnered the 8/13 favourite to a one-length victory over Lady Oak.
Lee completed a double when The Tulip, trained by Eddie Lynam, built on her promising debut effort to land the Median Auction Maiden holding Kubali by a neck.
Roconga, very unlucky here last time, gave Edward O’Grady his first winner on the polytrack when, ridden by Wayne Lordan, he got the better of Queen Alphabet in the mile-and-a-half maiden.
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