Marinero, who ran in last year’s RSA chase at the Cheltenham festival, made a successful return between the flags when he took the Slaney Foods open lightweight.
Last seen in point-to-point actions as a four-year-old when making a winning debut at Ballydurn for Eoin Doyle, the Presenting gelding was sent off as the well-supported favourite for his first start back in points five years later. The now nine-year-old battled gamely in the hands of Barry O’Neill to defeat Carrignagapple by half a length in the colours of his owner, David Maxwell.
Winning handler David Christie reported, “Barry (O’Neill) said that he was winning a long way out but he didn’t want to give him a hard time first time out in that ground. He doesn’t want to be in front too soon and we are finding out a lot about him. I just wanted him to have a nice experience, so to win is just a bonus. He will be better left handed, and on nicer ground.”
Steered to victory by his brother Jamie, the daughter of Presenting had been second in a maiden hurdle at Wexford in May for Henry De Bromhead and made much of the running in the 11-runner contest and won by a comfortable ten lengths for her owner and breeder William Devereux.
“We tried to keep it simple and just jump out because of that experience. I’m delighted the way that she jumped, it was good and clean. Jamie (Codd) said she was a bit over big at times because they are big fences out there in the ground. The plan is to go back to the track. Jamie just said to me to try and find a mares’ winners’ for her, as he said she just bolted up”, commented winning handler Willie Codd.
A half-brother to Celtic Rising who won his point-to-point at Dungarvan last year and who recently finished second on his hurdles debut at Limerick, was given a patient ride by James Walsh before taking up the lead approaching the straight to go onto win by one and a half-lengths over Well Bill.
A delighted Kenny stated after the race, “James (Walsh) rode him very well. He is a horse who idles once he gets to the front so can’t be there too early. James has done nearly all the work with him. It’s a terrific win for him. I will have a chat with James and see what he feels about it, we might look at another winners’ race.” Bought for €14,000 from the Goffs Land Rover sale the son of Stowaway had won his maiden at Lingstown in November.
A final fence faller at Borris in December when disputing the lead, the daughter of Beneficial made good progress throughout and took up the lead from the penultimate fence to win by three lengths over Vivalino in the hands of Conor Murphy.
“She is only a little 15”3 mare so she needs better ground. I think we will look for a small race over hurdles for her. She was won her point now and I don’t think there is a lot to be gained going for a winners’ race with her when she is that small”, reported her winning handler and owner Patrick Doyle.
Fifth at Kirkistown in November, the Wilson Dennison-owned son of Ballingarry who is a half-brother to two winners, was prominent throughout under Harley Dunne and took up the lead before the final fence where he held onto a half-length victory over Dontbitedabait.
“He has improved an awful lot for with each run.. He stays really well and we just couldn’t wait to get a good staying track for him. He is improving all the time and could be a good horse some time. He will be sold now”, commented McKeever who was enjoying his fourth of the season so far.
Having his sixth career start between the flags, the eight-year-old was given a waiting ride throughout before progressing to lead from the final fence where he battled gamely to hold off the challenge of Arch Chancelor by five lengths.