Just five horses lined up in Tinnakill House four-year-old maiden and Cormac Doyle, who has some 15 members of the four-year-old age group in his care this term, supplied the winner in the form of Some Operator.
With favourite Notachance and Mighty Altogether disputing the running, Some Operator moved closer for James Walsh from five out and the victorious white-faced son of September Storm assumed command approaching the final fence. Although Notachance rallied on the flat, Some Operator wasn’t going to be denied and the Monbeg Syndicate-owned bay ultimately accounted for the Denis Murphy-trained favourite by a length.
“He has always been a nice horse. The plan has been to come here for a long time and my brother Gearoid owns half of him with me, “said handler Doyle of Some Operator, a mid-May foal from the same family as Aintree Grand National winner Corbiere that was acquired for €15, 000 at last year’s Goffs Land Rover sale.
The Old Road Stud & Gain Feeds five-and-six-year-old mares’ maiden attracted the biggest field of the afternoon in 15 runners and local Ballynoe native Batt O’Connell, already on the mark with Truckin All Night in the Ballindenisk open in December, kept his supporters happy by saddling Truckers Cailin to record a hugely-popular success in the hands of Shane Baragry.
Truckers Cailin, who gave ample indication of ability by finishing fourth in the ultra-competitive Templenacarriga contest won by Lorvon Pearl on December 31st, made smooth progress from four out to go second behind long-time leader Goulane Jessie two out. With Goulane Jessie erring at the final fence, the winning daughter of Curtain Time that’s owned by the Conna Enclosure Syndicate swept past inside the final 50 yards to oblige by a half-length.
“She’s a nice type of mare that we bred ourselves and she will probably now be sold, “disclosed eight-horse handler O’Connell of Truckers Cailin.
Darragh Allen partnered his fourth winner of the campaign by joining forces with Bartlemy-based handler Pat Barry to capture The Goulding Family, The John Connery Family, Aglish & BH Tree Services six-year-and-upwards geldings’ maiden with the French-bred C’est Le Bonheur, who was vindicating the promise of his third-placed debut effort at Killeagh last month.
C’est Le Bonheur, a half-brother to Willie Mullins’ listed bumper winning mare Ainsi Va La Vie, arrived from mid-division to pick up the running before the final fence and he then held on grimly to deny fast-finishing newcomer Puthiminyourpocket by a half-length in the colours of his trainer’s wife Eileen.
”He’s a nice horse that was bought by my brother Eddie and he could now go for the point-to-point bumper at Gowran Park next month, “said handler Barry of the clearly-useful C’est Le Bonheur.
James Hannon, who later went on to partner two winners, was most fortunate to escape serious injury when he was unseated from his mount Turbo with victory within his grasp just after the final fence in the Goffs UK Aintree Sale five-year-old geldings’ maiden. Hannon’s foot unfortunately became entangled in his stirrup and he was dragged for some 100 yards before being thankfully released.
At the time of his departure, Robert Tyner’s Turbo held a two-length advantage. It was owner/trainer Roisin Hickey’s Kensukes Kingdom, who showed promise on his initial outing by coming fourth albeit beaten a distance by Chinensis at Dromahane in November that then took advantage with Declan Queally to beat Arctic Road by eight lengths.
Ms Hickey’s husband Thomond O’Mara reported of their winning son of Stowaway: “I know that Kensukes Kingdom was fortuitous, but he is probably as good a horse as we have ever had. Two miles though is his trip, not three miles.”
James Hannon initiated the opening leg of a two-timer by teaming up with the meeting’s landowner Jimmy Mangan to capture this six-runner Rathbarry & Glenview Stud open with Winter Magic, a former four-time track winner that made an excellent return to action by finishing third to stable-companion Murdo Mackenzie at Killeagh three weeks earlier.
Winter Magic, shared by his breeder Tina Kouwenberg with Nicola Kent, made smooth progress to pick up the running three out and he asserted from the last to beat long-time leader Fenno’s Storm by two lengths.
“He was due that as he ran a cracking race in Killeagh. He was just idling a bit in front here and he will go for a hunters chase now at some stage, “reported Mangan of Winter Magic, who at one time held a 128 rating over fences.
Pat O’Connor’s ex-hurdler Sullane Legend completed the Hannon brace by benefiting from front running tactics to record a pillar-to-post success in the Coolmore Stud, National Hunt Division 5yo+ Adjacent Maiden.
Sullane Legend, who shaped well by finishing fifth on his return to action in the same Killeagh maiden that C’est Le Bonheur came third in on January 14th, jumped soundly in the main and he was closely attended to by favourite Judkin approaching the final fence. Although the pair were both not exactly foot perfect here, Sullane Legend landed the faster and got on top inside the final 100 yards to dispose of the likeable Judkin by four lengths.
“I was going to run him on the track over Christmas, but he was rated 97 and we said that we could come pointing instead. He will probably now go back to the track, “said O’Connor of Sullane Legend, owned by Brid Lucey from Ballymakeera.