The Robert Tyner-trained newcomer Bay Ambition provided Derek O’Connor with the opening leg of a two-timer by easily landing the Dave Dennehy & Family five-and-six-year-old mares’ maiden in the colours of Noreen O’Brien, wife of former top amateur rider Tom Lombard.
Bay Ambition, having been sent off favourite, arrived from mid-division to move ever closer on the steep descent from two out and she surged past Youngoconnor into the lead on the run to the final fence. Whilst long-time pacesetter Megaboost soon stayed on into second spot, she was still some two lengths adrift of the victorious bay at the line.
In the absence of handler Tyner, convalescing from pelvic and rib injuries sustained in a fall at home before Christmas, Tom Lombard disclosed: “Robert had told us that this mare was working and schooling nicely. We will have a chat with Robert now before deciding what to do next.”
Lombard incidentally purchased Bay Ambition, whose dam is a half-sister to the dam of Bonny Kate and Mala Beach, as a foal at the 2013 Fairyhouse November sale.
The Alan Fleming-trained Timewaitsfornoone, bought on owner Barry O’Connell’s behalf for £225, 000 stg after winning a four-year-old Tinahely maiden point in February 2016, recorded a hard-fought success in the All Plast Engineering Ltd Winner Of One.
On his first start for the absent Fleming, also on the mark with Espanito Bello in the Naas bumper, Timewaitsfornoone led from half-way until he was joined by the mare TJ Goodtymes at the fourth last. There was then little to separate the pair until the winning son of Oscar edged into a narrow advantage under pressure for Declan Queally before the last. He valiantly maintained the momentum to account for the likeable TJ Goodtymes by a half-length in what was the closest finish of the afternoon.
Owner Connell’s son Rory, paying an initial visit to Aghabullogue, said: “We would be happy with that as Timeswaitsfornoone’s jumping got better as he warmed up. He will probably be kept pointing for the time being and he should run again in a few weeks’ time.”
Clondaw Ace vindicated the decision of handler Mick Goff to turn him out just seven days after falling when travelling well three out at Templenacarriga by gamely justifying favouritism in the Goffs UK five-year-old geldings’ maiden in the hands of Shane Fitzgerald.
The Flemensfirth-sired Clondaw Ace always travelled nicely and he took up the running before three out. He was closely attended to by newcomer Burgess King after two out. Crossley Tender took up the chase on the run to the final fence, but he was ultimately no match for the triumphant bay with four lengths separating the pair. Long-time leader Landofsmiles meanwhile returned a further 10 lengths adrift in third spot.
“He’s a very good horse and I wasn’t going to run him today, but for the fact that I rode him out myself last Tuesday and he nearly ran away with me, “reported Goff of his wife Catriona’s Clondaw Ace, a close relation to Grade 2 novice hurdle winner Court In Motion whom he purchased as a yearling. “He won a schooling hurdle with Sean Flanagan at Fairyhouse a few weeks ago and he will go to the sales now."
Derek O’Connor completed his two-timer by giving former seven-time track scorer Sydney Paget a masterful waiting ride in the Brookfield Leisure Centre Open to record an initial success of the season for absent handler Pat Doyle.
Wilcosdiana, previously successful in a Cork hunters chase in November, set out to make all and she held a commanding four-length advantage starting the descent from two out. Sydney Paget was however now in full flow as he eased ever closer on the inner and he took the measure of Maxine O’Sullivan’s mount on the run to the final fence to score by four lengths. By doing so, the 11-year-old was incidentally recording an eighth point’s success in the colours of US-domiciled owner Roddy O’Byrne.
“Derek gave the horse a peach of a ride and we will see how he comes out of this before making any future plans,” said handler Doyle’s wife Mary of Sydney Paget.
Paul Pierce’s gambled-on newcomer Alsa Mix created a hugely favourable impression by coming home as she pleased under Jimmy O’Rourke in the W & M Kiely Ltd six-year-old-and-upwards mares’ maiden.
Alsa Mix, a six-year-old grey that was purchased at the 2016 Derby sale, made smooth progress off the pace to pick up the running after three out. The victorious daughter of Al Namix was clearly containing Boulta runner-up Cloone Lady after two out and she effortlessly surged clear of James Hannon’s mount on the approach to the final fence to oblige by an unextended 10 lengths.
“She was ready to run last season, but she got a bad cut and we had to leave her off, “disclosed Pierce of Alsa Mix, owned by his father Andy. “She’s the best that we have ever had and she won as we expected. She is for sale, but we might have to run her again.”
Edmond Kent, who trains just four horses at his Castlelyons base, sent out Emerald Chieftan to make a winning return to action in the Dan Donovan & Co Ltd six-year-old-and-upwards geldings’ maiden.
Emerald Chieftan, a half-brother to 134-rated chaser Westerner Point, benefited from front-running tactics and the victorious eight-year-old took the measure of runner-up Keel Over on the run to the final fence to triumph by five lengths. By doing so, the winning son of Oscar was providing rider Johnny Hurley with a third success of the campaign.
“He has matured into a grand horse and hopefully, it will be a case of onwards and upwards from here", reported Kent of Emerald Chieftain, homebred by Richard and Anne Gallagher from Watergrasshill.