CARRYING the colours of Mrs Anne Coughlan, best known for the exploits of champion filly Ridgewood Pearl back in 1995, the Dermot Weld trained Treasure The Cross made all to land the opening Irish Stallion Farms Fillies Maiden at Wexford last night.
Experienced over course and distance, the Cape Cross filly dictated the pace throughout and kept going well to beat favourite Saajidah readily, prompting Pat Smullen to comment: “She’s a well-bred filly and it was important to get a bracket for her.
“She worked nicely in blinkers the other morning and they definitely made a difference. It was great to get to the rail and dictate but, on the day, she was the best horse in the race.”
Kevin Prendergast and Declan McDonogh, out of luck with Saajidah in the opener, bounced back when 10/1 shot Cloud Fire finally opened her account in the following Belmont Handicap.
Always handy, the Norman Orimston owned daughter of Refuse To Bend came through strongly to foil front-running favourite Headford Lady inside the final furlong, prompting McDonogh to explain: “It’s great for Norman to get a bracket for her. She had plenty of weight but travelled well. I was able to track Fran (Berry, on Headford Lady) and I got a run when I needed it after turning in. She liked the easy ground and will stay further.”
The Paul Deegan trained Midnight Soprano, a Celtic Swing filly, made virtually all under Fran Berry to justify favouritism in the Clonard Maiden, beating Scots Gaelic three lengths, despite wandering in the closing stages.
“If she has half the heart of her sister Celtis Soprano, she’ll go a long way. As you saw she’s still a bit green but, like her sister, she keeps going. I’ll enter her in a handicap now and see what the handicapper thinks of her.”
John ‘Shark’ Hanlon, anxious that Truckers Delight is unlikely to make the cut for Wednesday’s Tote sponsored Galway Plate and upbeat about top-weight Luska Lad’s prospects in the Guinness Galway Hurdle, enjoyed a welcome boost when One For Joules proved a convincing winner of the Blacksrairs Claiming Race.
Ridden by apprentice Martin Harley, the Choisir filly proved too strong for Walter De La Mare. Her trainer stated: “Kevin Manning told us not to run her on hard ground and she loved it out there. She was unlucky in Killarney and was entitled to win one somewhere. She’ll probably go for handicap in Galway on Thursday now.”
Highlight of the jumps action was undoubtedly the victory of the Niall ‘Boots’ Madden trained Salesin in the Crown Bar Beginners Chase.
The J P McManus owned seven-year-old was reluctant to jump off in a ragged start and got going for the trainer’s son and namesake about eight lengths behind the second last horse. But, jumping soundly, he improved to lead before halfway and stretched clear between the last two fences to beat Ireland’s Call by seven lengths.
The winning trainer declared: “That was some performance after getting left. He jumps brilliantly and will go for a novice on a flat track. He definitely won’t be going to Galway.”
A Stewards Enquiry decided the outcome of the Hilary Murphy Travel Handicap Chase, to the delight of punters.
Longshot Hattons Wood, which had made most of the running before being headed and rallying late, got home by a short-head from the Barry Geraghty ridden favourite Old Hall.
Interference took place inside the final furlong, as Hattons Wood (Andrew Thornton) edged left. The Stewards were satisfied that the outcome had been influenced and decided to disqualify Hattons Wood and award the spoils to Old Hall, locally trained by Willie Codd. They found Thornton guilty of careless riding and severely cautioned him.
Favourite backers were on the mark again in the bumper when Battling Boru built on a solid third at Limerick last time, to continue the fine form of the Tony Mullins stable.
Having pressed Quenzo Pierji from halfway, the four-year-old Brian Boru gelding was caught flat-footed briefly turning for home but, when hitting top gear, swept past the leader to score emphatically in the hands of ‘Pa’ Murphy. It was the display of a potentially smart prospect.
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