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Report | Cragmore 18th Feb 18

"“We fancied this lad today. He’s a horse with a big engine that seems to go on any ground as it was tough out there today.”"

Last season’s joint lleading Under-21 rider, Shane Fitzgerald took riding honours with a double on the day, the first coming in the opening race of the day, the Goffs four-year-old geldings’ maiden aboard Sams Profile. The son of Black Sam Bellamy made all in the five-runner contest and combined with a good round of jumping, the Michael Goff-trained debutant secured a two-length win over Diol Ker.

Goff commented on his winner who is now sales bound; “We fancied this lad today. He’s a horse with a big engine that seems to go on any ground as it was tough out there today. I’m delighted for Shane, he was brilliant on him from the start and is a great young lad.” 

The second leg of the Fitzgerald double came when the Eamon O’Donovan-trained newcomer Pleasant Hill opened her account in point-to-points when she took the Gain Horse Feeds five-year-old mares’ maiden. The was very much a family success for the O'Donovan Family as the winner is owned by the winning handler’s father, William and was bred by his brother Liam. Progressing to lead before the final fence, the daughter of Mountain High kept on strongly in the closing stages to win by three lengths over Carrigmoorna Wood.

O’Donovan (Eamon) who is based in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary reported; “This is a well-bred mare that we bred ourselves out of a three-part sister to Triumph hurdle winner Scolardy. She’s taken time to come to hand and is the first to race from the family so it’s a great start. We will most likely have a look at a point-to-point bumper now.”
 
There was another family success on the card when Baily Fox took The Countess of Dunraven six-year-old geldings’ maiden for handler, John Gleeson in the hands of his son William. Runner-up at Ballinaboola two weeks ago, the son of Milan was prominent throughout and took up the lead before the final fence where he went onto win by three lengths over Newlands Cross.

Winning handler Gleeson was quickly congratulated in the parade ring after the race by Shark Hanlon, trainer of the runner-up Newlands Cross, who was the under bidder for the horse when Gleeson purchased him in October 2017 at Goresbridge.

“This is very much a fun horse that I bought from Mouse Morris. The horse had a lovely run in Ballinaboola behind a nice type and deserved to get his head in front after it. My son Billy gets on great with him and gave him a grand ride.” 
 
The smallest field of the day was in the Lady Harrington Open which saw just two runners go to post. Sydney Paget secured his tenth point-to-point win of his career win for his handler, Pat Doyle. The eleven-year-old who carries the colours of Roger O'Byrne was forced to battle hard to the line by his rival Final Gift and just manged to hold onto the victory by a neck.

Lady Harrington was on hand to present Timmy O’Byrne nephew of the winning owner with the Earl of Harrington perpetual cup after the race. Winning handler Pat Doyle indicated the horse will go for a similar event in the coming weeks, with the long-term aim being to make him champion pointer this year if possible. The son of Flemensfirth is currently sitting in joint top of those standings with Milan Dancer and A Decent Excuse who are all on three wins.
 
Buckie Cullen was the most comfortable winner of the day when the Denis Hickey-trained winner took the OConnells Crecora Mills Winner of One by a distance over Cubanera. The seven-year-old got off the mark at Knockinroe in November and followed that success up with a fourth placed run at Boulta in December.

Ridden by Sean O’Keeffe the son of Craigsteel progressed to lead after the fifth fence and was never headed from that point. The winning gelding is home-bred by the Hickeys from the family of their Thyestes Chase winner Bob Treacy. This provided winning rider O’Keeffe with his third winner of the season from just eight rides.
 
Johnny Barry has been enjoying a successful season so far and this continued at the Co. Limerick track when he steered Down The Highway to victory in The Dunraven, Adare five-year-old geldings’ maiden for the David Keane yard. The well supported debutant by Duke Of Marmalade who was bought for €12,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland September yearling sale, chased the leader throughout and quickened clear on the run to the final fence to win by six lengths over Old Rascals.

Winning handler Keane, who has started off such horses as Realt Dubh and Realt Mor alongside his brother Vinny, indicated that his winning gelding would most likely be sold now.
 

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