The annual Oldtown fixture, run under the auspices of the Ward Union hunt, took place on Sunday at The Folly on a bitterly cold day which featured sunshine and snow showers.
La Cavsa Nostra followed-up an impressive maiden win at Dungarvan a fortnight ago to score in the Devenish Nutrition winners of two, initiating a double on the card for jockey Jamie Codd. The Denis Murphy-trained and owned Flemensfirth gelding travelled well throughout before easing clear approaching the last to prevail by four lengths over Thunderosa.
The British track recruit impressed connections on the day with Murphy pleased by the success. “Jamie (Codd) was very happy with him there and I do think that he will win a big race one day.” With regards to future plans Murphy continued: "We will go again for another point-to-point now if he is not sold beforehand”
Jamie Codd quickly followed up by claiming the Ssanyyong Motors Ireland open aboard the Jim Dreaper-trained Sizing Coal in the colours of the late Alan Potts. Third on his most recent outing behind Punchestown victor, Gilgamboa, in the hunters chase at Down Royal on St. Stephen’s day, the presenting gelding was seen to very good effect here, comprehensively defeating Call Me Bubbles by a distance.
Assistant and son of the trainer, Tom Dreaper, spoke of how the decision to come to Oldtown with the 10-year-old and bypass the Punchestown race was duly rewarded: "He is now qualified for the Foxhunters at Cheltenham but I don’t know if he is up to that level. We will mix hunter chasing and point-to-points with him for the rest of the season but I don’t think he will go across to England.”
Asterion Forlonge ran out a very impressive winner of the Goffs four-year-old maiden, for the husband and wife team of Pat and Mary Doyle. In a small but select field of five, a good jump at the last and a sharp turn of foot, quickly sealed victory over Assemble under a masterfully patient Derek O'Connor, with the pair crossing the line with six lengths to spare over their rivals.
"He is a lovely horse and he did it very well there," reported Mary Doyle, wife of the winning handler, who is set to offer the Coastal Path gelding at tomorrow’s Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham sale. "He had been doing everything very easily at home so we were very hopeful coming here that that he would put in a big performance.”
Rob James joined forces with regular supporter Donnchadh Doyle to collect in the Underwriting Exchange five-year-old geldings’ maiden with King of the Sharks in a race which took place during a bitterly cold snow shower. The Monbeg Syndicate’s son of Flemensfirth, who was a fine third on his debut run at Nenagh two weeks earlier, was always close to the pace and jumped much the better on this occasion to record a comfortable eight length victory over the Stuart Crawford-trained Ratfacemcdougall.
"We were hopeful that he would run a much better race here. He is a tough horse and did it well from the front there,” reported the winning handler, who also sends his winner to tomorrow’s Cheltenham sale.
William Ross got off the mark for this season when his Verona Gold, a previous third at Tinahely in January, scored in the hands of Declan Lavery. The crowd at the Co Dublin venue were treated to a thrilling finish in the Lougher Stables & ITBA five-year-old and upwards mares’ maiden as almost all of the field appeared to hold chances when jumping the third last. However, the Gold Well mare stayed-on best of all to get the upper hand over Whistling Dolly by a head in a close call at the line.
“She is a very tough mare that stays all day," commented a delighted Ross. "It is great to get a winner for her breeder Bill Larkin and it was brilliant that he could come here today to see her get her head in front."
21-year-old Niall Prendergast registered his first ever career success abroad Calderone for his boss Shark Hanlon, as the Balko-sired six-year-old ran out a clear-cut 10-length winner over Templepoint in the Considine Family older geldings’ maiden for novice riders. The well backed Diane O'Rourke-owned gelding provided his Co. Carlow-based handler with some consolation after narrow defeat in the previous race.
"The mare (Whistling Dolly) ran well in the previous race so the horses are in good form," reported Hanlon. “He is a lovely big horse that is about 17hh. Ferdy Murphy bought him out of France and I only have him a couple of months."