Shield rounded off a terrific week for Aidan O’Brien, JP McManus and Mark Walsh when cruising to victory in the Dawn Omega Milk Novice Hurdle, as an attendance in excess of 7,000 topped off a very successful festival.
Walsh is riding with real confidence right now and was especially good on the son of Dylan Thomas.
He was in no hurry, but arrived into the straight with Shield absolutely running away. He asked the five-year-old to lead at the last and his partner did the rest, stretching clear on the flat to easily beat Mumbo Bay.
Fran Berry did the honours for connections and said: “That was nice, he jumped well and loved the ground.
“Mark was keen not to go on with him today. Shield was set to go chasing, but then this race popped up. He will go chasing eventually.”
It got even better for McManus when his Golden Ticket arrived late and fast to mug He’s Our Man in the Dawn Milk Run Handicap Hurdle.
He’s Our Man was cantering after the second last and looked sure to score early on the flat. But he didn’t find anywhere near as much he threatened to and Alan Crowe conjured a terrific late burst from the winner.
“Alan gave him a great ride, there will probably be something for the horse at Galway,” said Berry.
The layers got a badly needed result when Tom Hogan’s 25-1 shot Elusive Prince took the Killarney Grand Live Music Venue Handicap.
Powerfully handled by Ronan Whelan, the top weight surged through late to beat Six Silver Lane and the running on favourite, California Rose, who struggled for most of the journey.
Said Hogan: “He keeps plenty for himself, I didn’t think he would ever show it to us. Ronan gave him a brilliant ride, he is a first class rider.”
Fran Berry rode Six Silver Lane, but soon gained compensation when guiding the Jim Nash-trained Massini’s Trap to victory in the Europe Hotel And Resort Handicap. This contest is run over two miles and a furlong and is one of the longest flat races in the country.
Berry made his move under two furlongs down and Massini’s Trap flashed on to beat Alileo, who found it hard to get an opening early in the straight.
Commented Nash: “He’s tiny, but a great servant. That should get him into the bottom of the amateur handicap at Galway and he will go for either that or the Galway Hurdle.”
Jim Dreaper’s Sizing Solution, beaten in a hunter chase at Downpatrick previously, benefited from Davy Russell handling to win the Dawn Hi And Lo Milk Handicap Hurdle.
Russell was in no hurry, but this was over once he produced Sizing Solution to lead between the last two flights.
“When he was a young horse we thought was a real horse, but then he developed wind troubles,” revealed Dreaper. “To use a DK Weld expression, that was the plan.”
The absence of Laviniad (stone bruise) from the Aherns’ BMW Castleisland Maiden left the way clear for long odds-on Ebadani to finally deliver.
Michael Halford’s gelding had been utterly frustrating, but had nothing to beat here and showed his appreciation.
Conor Hoban soon had him bowling along in front and only had to nudge out his charge in the straight to score by six lengths.
The meeting ended with Henry de Bromhead introducing a potentially decent newcomer, Solatenif, to run away with the Bumper in the hands of David Roche.
“He’s an exciting horse and deadly to jump,” said de Bromhead.
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