On a wet afternoon that witnessed extremely testing ground conditions, the absent Colin Bowe sent out a winner with his only runner at the meeting when Lorvon Pearl stepped up from her third-placed debut effort behind Danse Idol at Boulta in late-November by running out a clear-cut winner in the Tattersalls Ireland four-year-old mares’ maiden in the hands of Barry O’Neill.
Lorvon Pearl, representing the Milestone Racing Partnership, was always well positioned as Knockinroe runner-up Expresstime set to make all closely tracked by odds-on favourite Kilbarry Angel. Expresstime appeared the most likely winner from two out, a fence that the pursuing Kilbarry Angel erred at. Lorvon Pearl though was closing the whole time and she led literally on landing over the final fence to beat the likeable Expresstime by a widening three and a half lengths.
Lorvon Pearl is incidentally out of a half-sister to listed French hurdle winner La Zingarella, dam of L’Ami Serge.
James Hannon initiated the opening leg of a two-timer by landing the first division of the OFarrell & Mary Ryan four-year-old geldings’ maiden aboard the Joe Ryan-trained Good And Hardy.
A 2016 Goffs Land Rover sale graduate, Good And Hardy showed the necessary improvement from his fourth-placed return effort behind Baron De Midleton at Ballindenisk last month by leading or disputing throughout. The winning son of Westerner went back to the front before four out and was clearly travelling best from before the final fence, four lengths separating him from Ask And Answer.
Ryan said of his pilot son Josh’ Good And Hardy, an early-May foal that’s out of a half-sister to Grade 2 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner In Contrast:”He’s a tough, hardy sort that may well go for a winners race now. “
James Hannon completed his double aboard Ballyduff Upper-based owner/trainer Don Kenneally’s five-year-old newcomer Cavok in the Hurleys Supervalu five-year-old-and-upwards mares’ maiden. A physically-imposing daughter of Kayf Tara, Cavok took the measure of long-time leader Goulane Jessie before two out to beat the frontrunner by 10 lengths.
“She’s a mare that just needed a bit of time and she will probably now be sold, “remarked Kenneally of the clear-useful Cavok. “She was bred by a British lady Carrie Zetter-Wells, whom we board mares’ for at home and she actually owned the mare Brief Gale whom the late Josh Gifford trained to win the Grade 1 SunAlliance Chase for her (in 1995). It was my father Donal that bred Brief Gale. “
Handler Mick Goff and rider Shane Fitzgerald are experiencing a terrific season and they struck with the hugely-impressive Dickie Diver in the second division of the OFarrell & Mary Ryan four-year-old geldings’ maiden.
One of seven newcomers in the race, the Gold Well-sired Dickie Diver always took the eye in running and he touched down in front over the fourth last. The eventual winner was already in command when throwing a spectacular jump two out and he blitzed clear on the ascent to the final fence to beat Atlantic Storm by 20 lengths in the style of a horse with probable big-race pretensions.
“This horse went very well recently in a Fairyhouse schooling hurdle, “reported Goff of Dickie Diver, sporting the silks of Dick Frisby but in who he (Goff) also owns a half-share. “He was a bit green in front here, but he’s a lovely horse with plenty of speed and he will go to the sales now."
Dickie Diver was astutely purchased for €12, 000 by Derek Tobin at the 2016 Goffs Land Rover sale and the bay’s grandam is a half-sister to Merry Gale.
Liam Burke’s 2016 Thyestes Chase winner My Murphy rolled back the years by recording a popular front-running success under Richie Harding in the East Cork Oil Co Open.
My Murphy, a six-time track winner that also finished second to Djakadam in the 2015 renewal of the ‘Thyestes’, got into a lovely rhythm in front and he increased the tempo somewhat setting out on the final circuit with runner-up Rue Hill his only semblance of a threat from two out. Although Rue Hill closed to hold every chance at the final fence, My Murphy secured the faster jump here and he dug deep to oblige by a neck in what was the closest finish of the afternoon.
“He really enjoyed himself out there today,“ remarked owner/trainer Burke. “Winning the ‘Thyestes’ probably left its mark on him mentally and he’s a fun horse now. He will mix it between points and hunter chases and he could be aimed for something like the Tetretema Cup hunters chase at Gowran Park in March."
Terence O’Brien’s Cepalo Delafayette benefited from front-running tactics by recording a pillar-to-post success in the AMAC five-year-old geldings’ maiden.
Cepalo Delafayette, having finished a fine third to Mount Rushmoore on his debut at Ballindenisk last month, got into a superb rhythm in front with five lb claimer Darragh Allen and he asserted from two out to beat newcomer Clondaw Fixer by four lengths. Last season’s Knockanard runner-up Ask Robin faded between the final two fences to return a further six lengths adrift in third spot.
O’Brien remarked of Cepalo Delafayette, owned by Richard Gardiner from Watergrasshill:”This is a horse that was bought at Doncaster as a three-year-old, but he just took a while to mature and he was ready to run in the spring. He possibly wasn’t fully fit for his first run at Ballindenisk and he will probably be sold now."
Just four went to post for the Kepak Group five-year-old-and-upwards confined maiden and two-horse operator Patrick Leahy from Conna sent out the winner in the form of the Johnny Hurley-ridden mare Prove Me Wrong, who failed to complete the course on her five previous starts.
The five-year-old Prove Me Wrong, bred by her owner/trainer’s two uncles Sean and Batt Leahy, assumed command after the third last and she was always possessing too many aces for odds-on favourite Overbury Prince from two out. The winning margin was ultimately 12 lengths with the pair being the only finishers.
“She always showed something, but I’m still a bit surprised and it’s great to win,“ said Leahy who also has a five-year-old unraced mare by Doyen to run this season.