On a particularly sad day at Thurles racecourse yesterday, following the death of owner and manager Pierce Molony, the two miles and six plus maiden hurdle was won in impressive fashion by Ryansbrook.
Giving trainer Colm Murphy a welcome turn and ridden by Mikey Fogarty, the seven-year-old scored with any amount in hand.
Fogarty asked him to lead over the second last and Ryansbrook soon scampered clear to beat Vedettariat by 11 lengths.
Murphy said: “He goes on the ground and the further the better for him, all his pedigree suggests he wants a trip. We’ll see now what Noel (O’Brien, handicapper) does.”
Jim Dreaper’s Venitien de Mai went off a well backed favourite, but again disappointed.
He raced near the front, but was far too free and had nothing left when the contest began in earnest.
The imposing six-year-old is rapidly becoming one to avoid.
The smart Our Katie, trained by Garrett Ahern, got back on the winning trail in the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Mares Beginners Chase.
She appeared to have a bit to do heading towards the home turn and then her cause wasn’t helped by making a mistake at the third last.
But Our Katie soon found plenty for Brian Hayes persuading and had no trouble easing to the front heading to the last.
Ahern said: “She had a slight setback at Christmas and this was the obvious place to come.’
The hitherto somewhat disappointing Totally Dominant got the full Ruby Walsh treatment to foil a gamble on Arctic Skipper in the thurles.ie Maiden Hurdle.
The pair had a real battle up the straight, with Totally Dominant just about getting the better of it close home to score by a neck.
Trainer Willie Mullins said: “Ruby said he liked that ground.
“We will probably go out in trip and move him up to two and a half miles.”
Jonathan Burke, who suffered a fall off Le Feu Garde in this race, was taken to hospital in Clonmel for an X-ray on his left forearm.
Really Unique, trained by a man who has more than stood the test of time, John Joe Walsh, took the Thurles Handicap Hurdle.
Ridden by Brian O’Connell, the winner kept finding up the straight to beat long time leader, Romantic Fashion, by half a length.
“Brian gave him a good ride, we will keep tipping away with the horse over hurdles,” reported Walsh.
Like It A Lot, trained by in-form Paul Nolan for Barry Connell, won the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Rated Novice Chase.
Partnered by Adrian Heskin, he seemed to be getting the best of the fight with Toubaloo when that one stumbled at the back of the final fence.
Toubaloo, however, rallied in fine style and was only a head adrift of the winner at the line.
Nolan said: “He seems to be better over fences (than hurdles) and will be better again when his jumping improves.’
Duty Dance, trained and ridden by Danny Howard, kept on dourly to take the Follow Us On Facebook Handicap Hurdle.
She beat Oscar’swan by half a length, after that mare had looked the likely winner, until getting it all wrong at the last.
The Bumper was won in a canter by arguably the best-backed horse in the race, Tony Martin’s Valgor Du Ronceray.
Carrying the Gigginstown House Stud colours and supported from 4-1 to 11-4, he was pulling double over his rivals all the way up the straight in the hands of Nina Carberry.
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