For the second weekend in succession Mick Goff and Shane Fitzgerald teamed up to take a second four-old-maiden in seven days when Clondaw Hollow won the Tattersalls Ireland-sponsored opening race in front of crowd in excess of 6,500 people.
Positioned behind the leaders for much of the contest, the son of Beat Hollow was on terms three-out, before quickening clear to defeat Up The Straight by three lengths.
Having just his second start, the €25,000 Tattersalls Derby sale graduate made a promising debut when finishing a good third at Tralee last spring and certainly looks to have a smart turn of foot.
“He has been working exceptionally well this year. I think is a lovely horse with a great pedigree. Shane (Fitzgerald) was excellent on the horse,” said the handler, of the bay who will now be sold.
Former novice champion Shane Fitzgerald quickly doubled up when Dookie got off the mark at the first time of asking, in the Fleet Financial five-year-old geldings’ maiden.
Always to the fore of proceedings, the Fruits of Love gelding jumped well throughout before quickening clear to score by six lengths from Orpen Wells.
Trained in Kilkenny by Breandan Long who said: “He has always been a nice horse that we bought out of the field from Michael Sheflin and we just weren’t sure coming here how he would go.”
The debutant was carrying the winning handler’s colours and may now be sold.
It was a red-letter day for 17-year-old Cathal McCormack who got off the mark when partnering Mr Boss Man to success on his first ever ride between the flags in the Hannon Travel open for novice riders.
The recent Portrush winner proved a great ride to pick up for the Meath native, who has Thomas Coyle to thank, as it was that handler, whom he rides out for, that recommended him to winning handler Nigel Slevin.
Given a patient ride, the now seven-time winner hit the front at the penultimate obstacle before staying on to see off Vinnie Luck by four lengths.
Of the winner who was sporting the Slevin family colours, the handler said: “He did it very well and the young lad gave him a great ride. He jumped great and is getting his confidence back, particularly after Portrush. He will stay pointing now.”
Major Davis survived a big scare at the last to win the James Gogarty Stone winner of one in the hands of Anthony Fox.
While only three horses faced the starter, it proved a tactical affair with the winner and Freezing Oscar quickening clear from the fourth-last.
Unfortunately that latter was forced to pull-up quickly in the closing stages, allowing Peter Flood’s charge to come home a distance clear of the eventual runner up Stetsonandstilettos.
Owned by Teresa Flood the six-year-old is now two-from-two between the flags and the handler said: “He did it well. It is hard when it is only the small field but we will keep him going now as long as the ground stays good before giving him a break. He can go for the Farmers race at Punchestown, so we will keep him for that once he is not sold before that.”
It was a well-deserved victory for Smooth Spoon in the Boyd Stores six-year-old and upwards geldings’ maiden as he was desperately unlucky to fall at the last when clear at Corbeagh House almost two years ago.
The now eight-year-old has only had five starts in the interim, but he had shaped well when finishing fourth at Castletown on the opening day of the season.
On this occasion Jamie Codd did the steering aboard the son of Spadoun, bouncing the grey out to make most of the running.
The even-money favourite gave his supporters a slight scare with a mistake at the penultimate obstacle before going on to score by two and a-half lengths from Captain Commander.
“He deserved it and Jamie said that he should take his winner of one,” said winning handler and owner Robert Brabazon.
The ITBA & Colliers International five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden saw the consistent Jasper Bear score for the familiar combination of David Christie and Barry O’Neill.
Having her eighth start, the five-year-old had been second on three previous occasions, ensuring this was a well-deserved success.
Cutting out much of the running, the daughter of Beneficial stayed on gamely to see off Rare Old Timz by two and a-half lengths.
Owned and bred by the Alistair and Claire Corrigan, the daughter of Beneficial will likely stay between the flags as David Christie said: “She is very similar to Maple Mons. I could see her go on and work her way up as she has a big engine, but it is her head that is her biggest weakness.”