Maliboo provided a deserved local success in the Hugh Campbell Solicitor five-year-old mares’ maiden, as the South Westmeath’s celebrated 40 years of running a point-to-point at The Pigeons.
The homebred daughter of Mahler had shaped well on a number of starts last season, and was certainly not winning out of turn.
Ridden by Simon Cavanagh, the five-year-old was never too far away from the pace and showed a very game attitude to fend off the strong challenge of Kaletto in the home straight, with just half a length separated the pair at the line.
Winning handler Denis Murphy was at Tinahely, but a delighted owner Richard Cavanagh said: “She just went down to Denis because Simon is working there, so it suited. I’ll leave it up to Simon, we might sell her or else go for a winners’ race.”
There were jubilant scenes in the winners enclosure following the victory of Paul O’Connell’s Doyen Queen in the Groake Partners Solicitors four-year-old mares’ maiden.
Shane Baragry did the steering aboard the four-year-old, who was always to the fore of proceedings, before being sent for home bend approaching the home bend.
While the daughter of Doyen had her advantage reduced in the closing stages, she battled well to the line to see off Mrsgrey and Hail Rain Or Snow, with just two short-heads separated the trio at the line.
The €3,500 Tattersalls August sale graduate is owned by Margaret O’Connell and may now be sold.
“She is a very good mare and we are a small operation with only a couple of horses in training,” said the winning Cork handler.
“Shane gave her a super ride and I am delighted for my father, this win is for him.”
Gerry Spain made a great start to his season when taking the Walderstown Service Station open for novice riders on Some Are Lucky.
The owner/rider has enjoyed some great days in the saddle with the likes of Nobel Prince taking him to Cheltenham and the Tipperary rider was content to stalk the leaders for much of the race on this occasion, before producing Sam Curling’s charge with a well-timed run at the last. Point-to-point debutant Cassells Rock finished a further three lengths adrift in second.
“This fella was up with Sam and he fitted the bill for me, as he had plenty of experience and we will stick to point-to-points now,” said the winning rider.
The O’Roarke Bros confined hunt winners has been a lucky race for handler Brian Dillon, and his Didarro took this closing contest for the second year running, this time in the hands of Barry O’Neill.
Putting in an exhibition of jumping from the front, the now four-time winner stayed on dourly to beat Cubanera by seven lengths.
“We will have to try and find something similar, or maybe even find a new home for him,” said Dillon.
Rob James picked up a winning spare ride in the Sean Dunning, Victuallers and Frank Daly & Associates five and six-year-old geldings’ maiden.
The Wexford rider settled Mill Race King in the rear of the field before making good progress inside the final mile, to hit the front after two-out.
Benny Walsh’s Scorpion gelding stayed on well, coming home five lengths in front of The Echo Boy.
The bay gelding is owned by the ATM Partnership and Walsh was on hand to say: “I hurt my shoulder after a fall of the earlier on but Rob gave him a peach and he will probably be sold now.”
Onthefrontfoot provided Donnchadh Doyle with a second four-year-old winner of the weekend, when taking the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Sales & The Three Jolly Pigeons, The Villager & Grogans of Glasson four-year-old geldings’ maiden.
Having finished a decent second at Loughrea last season, the Monbeg Syndicate owned gelding was not winning out of turn on what was his fourth appearance to date.
Positioned to track the leaders for much of the contest, the bay skipped clear turning in, and held off the strong challenge from the promising Fancy Pants by two lengths to provide James with a double on the card.
“He won well. He just missed the last but stayed at it and he will head to one of the sales now,” said the winning handler.